What could be the first official reaction of India on the repeated offer of its Russian developed 5th generation Su-57E fighter jet might not go down well with Russian defense ministry after visiting Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa earlier this month in Russia asked Russian officials to buy and induct Su-57E fighter jet first in Russian Airforce and then Indian Airforce might consider buying them in near future.

Russia has been working on the development of Su-57E fighter jet for Export market and sees India and China has potential launch customers of the 5th generation fighter jet which could boost sales of the ill-fated jet which has been facing technical delays and prove of technology speculation for a while now. Russia has been pitching Su-57E fighter jet both to India and China for a while now but both countries are yet to commit on orders for Russia’s troubled Su-57 “stealth” fighter jet program

India had walked away from joint development of the FGFA program which was supposed to use a baseline Su-57 jet to develop a customized 5th generation fighter aircraft in lines of Su-30MKI catering to Air Staff requirements of the Indian Airforce. IAF found Su-57 lacking in many of the key technologies which are some of the main elements which define a Stealth plane and had recommended not to pursue the FGFA program in its final report to its government, basis on which Government of India decided to walk away from FGFA program in 2016.

IAF Team on its official visit to Russia were never allowed to closely examine the plane or were allowed to fly the plane. In 2014, When IAF team was given a technology demonstration sortie of a pre-production T-50 Prototype while coming to land, smoke was seen on fighters starboard engine air intake and soon a fire broke out shortly afterward while IAF Team was on the ground watching the whole incident.

With just 12 Pre-production samples ordered by Russian Airforce largely to be equipped with flight testing squadron, IAF decided to walk away from the program due to lack of technology maturity of the program and after learning from bitter experience from the Su-30MKI program where Indian money was used to fix issues with the jet and once the product was developed successful, it was marketed to several countries and even inducted into Russian Airforce a decade later as Su-30SM.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently placed orders for 74 Su-57 fighter jet over 12 already ordered to be inducted into Russian Air force by 2028 after several countries decided to stay away from the aircraft due to lack of orders from the Russian Air force which seemed quite happy with the performance of Su-30SM and Su-35 and showed little or no interest in the Su-57 program. Rumors have been that Internal report of Russian Air force which IAF had got somehow access to, didn’t speak much highly of the Su-57 program and had put a question mark on the many of technologies like stealth, engine, sensors, and avionics of the aircraft, which ultimately forced IAF to recommend its government to walk away from potential disaster of a program which required Indian funding to mature .

IAF Chief statement confirms that India will rather wait and watch till the program is mature enough then rush to buy new fighter like it uses to do it in past like seen in the procurement of Mig-29/Mig-27/Mig-23 fighter jets where India was always among first few countries who got access to latest in the Soviet technology.


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