Maxim Pyadushkin writes: It looks like the Indian Air Force will initially get the same PAK FA fifth-generation fighter as their Russian colleagues. Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan said Thursday that he would seek to unify the Russian and Indian requirements for the new aircraft. “The basic version of the fighter will be common”, he explained. “The difference will be only in software”.
India agreed to join the PAK FA program in 2007. According to the bilateral agreement, the development of the modification for the Indian Air Force will be split 50:50 between Sukhoi and India’s HAL. But now it looks like Pogosyan doesn’t want to waste efforts and time by developing a special Indian version at this stage, but to focus on rolling out the first prototype by August this year, as already promised by top Russian government and military officials.
Pogosyan also mentioned that the airframe is almost ready, while more time is needed to finish the radar. This supports the idea that the first PAK FA will be a very basic prototype, and more time will be required to define and test the production configuration.
As Pogosyan said, the Indian requirements can be taken into account later, while HAL’s 50% share in the development of the IAF modification can be realized in the more distant future – including the creation of two-seat and ship-based variants.