President Francois Hollande of France, who arrives in Delhi on Monday, has talked up the sale of 36 Rafales to India for an estimated $9 billion (Rs 60,000 crore).
Yet the FGFA remains alive. Last month Indian and Russian negotiators achieved a major breakthrough, agreeing to develop the FGFA at a lowered cost of $4 billion (Rs 27,000 crore) in India. That would open the doors to building of 250 FGFAs to replace the Sukhoi-30MKI.
Sukhoi is already test-flying the FGFA's precursor, which Russia calls the PAK-FA. The FGFA project involves improving the PAK-FA significantly to meet the IAF's specifications. The IAF wants some 50 improvements to the PAK-FA, including a 360-degree radar and more powerful engines.
A prototype fighter flying in India within three years. In total, 11 prototypes would be built - eight of these PAK-FAs for the Russian Air Force, and three FGFAs for India.
IAF objections to the FGFA were:
(a) The Russians would not share critical design information with India;
(b) The PAK-FA's engines are inadequate, being mere upgrades of the Sukhoi-30MKI's engines; and
(c) Paying $6 billion to co-develop the FGFA would mean that "a large percentage of IAF's capital budget will be locked up."
SOURCES - Business Standard