Much has been said or written in Indian and international media about India -US arms deals and missed opportunities. It is a surprise that so little is mentioned in the media about the 'real daddy deals,' that provide the main strength to India's armed forces. Take for example, the list of projects that are likely to be agreed upon during the visit of Russian president to India in December 2012. The list includes so many big ticket items and sounds so impressive that no other confirmation is really required to say that Russia remains India's biggest arms supplier.
Largest share of the pie would be taken by a contract to purchase 42 additional SU 30 MKI fighters. The deal is pegged at over Rs 2000 Millions and will make these fighters the first to be equipped with the air launched version of the Brahmos missile. This purchase would increase IAF fleet of these fighters to a strength over 272. In addition, there is also a plan to upgrade majority of existing SU-30 fighters to specifications of these new aircraft.
The second deal is for supply of 2 nos of heavy transport aircraft. These would be converted into Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) in a joint collaboration between India, Russia and Israel. This deal is worth Rs 330.6 Millions and will bring the fleet of the AWAC airborne systems in the IAF to five, with three already in service.
India would be also buying additional 71 nos of new MI 17 V5 helicopters that are presently the backbone of IAF’s helicopter transport fleet. These choppers will be in addition to the 80 Mi 17 V5 that are already on order. Out of the 71 new choppers to be purchased, 59 will be for the air force and the rest will go to the home ministry. This deal is expected to be upwards of Rs 700 Millions.
Indian army also would be placing order for 25,000 anti-tank INVAR missiles, which can be fired from the barrel of the T 90 main battle tank and is expected to cost close to Rs 400 Millions.
Some progress in further discussions is expected about the fifth generation fighter aircraft that is currently under development in Russia. India has already committed itself to the joint development of an Indian variant of the stealth fighter. The present research and development contract signed by India and Russia is valued at 11 Billion US Dollars, with India and Russia putting in with $5.5 Billions each. India hopes to induct around 200 of these fighters from 2022 onwards. The total cost of the project is expected to be around $35 Billions on this gigantic project.
The 42 new Sukhois, SU30 MKI would be assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics,under license. IAF is now progressively using these "air dominance" fighters both on the western and eastern fronts with Pakistan and China at a total project cost of over $12 billion.
All these deals sum up to a mind boggling figure. This will reassert Russia's position as India's largest arms supplier despite Israel, France and US now trying their best to get a larger share of the booty.
24th December 2012