New Delhi: Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony will be on a three-day visit to Russia next week, but will not get a chance to witness the ambitious Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) flight demonstration due to scheduling problems, the defense ministry said Friday.
Antony will leave New Delhi for Moscow on October 3 and will be there till October 5, a defense ministry release said here Friday. His visit comes ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s scheduled visit to Russia later this year.
An earlier release had claimed that Antony would witness a flight demonstration of the PAK FA fifth generation fighter.
“The Russian side will offer a glance of the upcoming Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) by holding a test flight for the benefit of Antony and his delegation,” the release had said.
However, a revised release later in the evening omitted the FGFA test flight.
Asked about the omission, a defense ministry official said the release had to be changed, as Antony’s program with regard to the test flight was yet to be finalized due to “scheduling problems.”
An earlier display flight of the FGFA during the Moscow air show in August had to be aborted due to technical trouble.
During the three-day stay in Russia, Antony will co-chair the 11th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) with his Russian counterpart Anatoly E. Serdyukov.
Antony will be accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Defense Secretary, Shashikant Sharma, Secretary (Defense Production), Shekhar Aggarwal, Lieutenant General MS Buttar, Air Marshal RK Sharma, Controller of Warship Production &. Acquisition, Vice Admiral NN Kumar, Chief Controller of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Avinash Chander, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited 9HAL) chairman and managing director Ashok Nayak and Director General (Acquisition), Vivek Ray.
Besides regional and global security issues, the two sides will also review the progress of important ongoing projects such as the refit of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier (renamed INS Vikramaditya), delivery of Talwar class frigates and progress on the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft.
The two sides will also deliberate upon aspects relating to licensed manufacture and maintenance of T-90 main battle tanks and Sukhoi-30 MKI combat jets in India, the release said.
The two countries have signed an agreement for the joint design, development and production of FGFA involving the Sukhoi Design Bureau on the Russian side and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on the Indian side.
In the run up to the IRGC-MTC meeting, seven sub-groups and two working groups covering all areas of military technical cooperation between the two countries have met and discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to equipment and technology transfer and product support.