India, Russia to move on MTA, FGFA

Antony expressed India’s concern at the tardy progress made in the design and development of the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MTA). Both countries will now meet again later this month to speed up work on the project.

I ndian and Russia have agreed to accelerate cooperation on defense projects at the end of the 11th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical (IRIG-CMT).

The meeting, co-chaired by Indian Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov agreed to hasten progress on the Multi Role Transport Aircraft, being jointly developed by both countries at a cost of USD 600 million.

The Additional Director General (Media and Communication) at the Indian defense ministry, Sitanshu Kar, wrote in a dispatch from Moscow that ‘Antony expressed India’s concern at the tardy progress made in the design and development of the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MTA)’. Both countries will now meet again later this month to speed up work on the project.

At the signing of the Protocol at the end of the meet, Antony mentioned projects like the T-90 battle tank, the BrahMos cruise missile, the Sukhoi-30MKI and the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) as examples of successful defense cooperation between the two countries, saying, “We are sure that the success of these projects would be models for the implementation of several other projects of mutual interest.”
 
Antony also raised concerns about the deliver of the INS Vikramaditya, formerly the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, noting, “This project has attracted considerable public attention in India.”

“We are keenly awaiting the induction of the aircraft carrier into the Indian Navy,” Kar quoted him as saying.

Antony expressed hope that the induction of the carrier would take place as scheduled, by the end of 2012.

Significantly, Russian website, RUSNAVY.com, recently reported that the first sea trials of the carrier had been delayed by five months. This, however, is not being said to affect the overall delivery schedule at this time.

Hoping that ‘all activities on the MiG-29K are completed to achieve synchronization with the aircraft carrier’, Kar wrote that Antony drew attention to the ‘vexing issue of delayed export clearances for vital repair equipment for already contracted weapons systems’.

The dispatch says that this has been affecting supplies of defense equipment and spares and is something, for which, assurances of corrective measures have been received from the Russian government.

It has also emerged from the Indo-Russian defense meet that the first stage of the preliminary design contract for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) has been completed, with the second stage planned to be finalized within a year.

Indian engineers completed almost 20 courses of the training program for the project last July.

Kar mentions that the Russian side expressed their views on the offsets regime that is part of the Indian Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP).

Difficulties faced by foreign vendors in satisfying these offset requirements have been coming up increasingly.

The Russian government was informed that the offset guidelines were under revision.

Antony returns to India tonight.

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Follow Saurabh Joshi on Twitter @ http://www.twitter.com/saurabhjoshi Saurabh is a journalist based in New Delhi, India who has worked in print, television as well as internet news media. Besides defense and strategy, his past assignments have included reporting from Kashmir, coverage of terror strikes as well as election coverage from all over India. He has a Bachelors degree in Journalism (Honors) as well as a law degree (LLB), both from the University of Delhi.
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