SOURCE: ABHOY ROY / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
As per latest India media reports, it seems that decks are cleared for the development of long delayed much hyped Indo-Russian 5th Generation fighter jet based on Sukhoi designed T-50 design, FGFA which India plans to develop with Russia and has been under negotiation for last 10 years while many in Indian Air force were simply not convinced if the aircraft described as a 5th generation fighter aircraft was actually can be clubbed in the same category of other 5th Gen fighter like F-22 and F-35 in the first place .
With little information is available on what could be Indian workshare,transfer of technology and the area of technical gain from this project in the development of FGFA and way it was announced with little fanfare clearly suggests India has decided to buy Russian bluff called Pak-fa even though IAF team were not to fly or evaluate the aircraft in the first place.
We Indians won’t even buy a car without test driving it for few times but this will be the first instance for Indian Air Force that they will enter into a contract to buy an aircraft and will receive only pre-production model to evaluate the aircraft upon basics of which a production model will be developed as per Indian requirements.
Till now all India has received after investing nearly ?1500 crores in the projects are line drawings along with few technical demonstration in Russia which was piloted by Russian Test Pilots. India was also not provided report demanded on fire that damaged T-50 prototype fighter’s starboard engine air intake during landing when Indian team was present for the demonstration.
Russian air force simply doesn’t see anything which Pak-fa can for them which Su-35 or Su-30SM can’t do for them and have not made any effort to order aircraft in large numbers and aircraft procured will be exclusively used for Internal trials rather than for combat duties.
Stealth Characters of Pak-fa too have been questioned by the Western Industrial specialist who has identified Engine and Radar has the weak point which will never allow T-50 to lay claim to being 5th generation fighter. Indian Air force also in past questioned Russian claims on Stealthiness of the jet and have dubbed it at far most a 4.8 Generation fighter at best.
Also Russian Analysts, them self-have admitted several times that Radar cross section of Pak-fa is nowhere close to F-35 and comparing it with F-22 in Stealth aspect is clearly out of question. Area of concern for Indian air force always has been the new untested engine which is yet to have its first flight and AESA Fire control radar performance of which is comparable to older American developed AESA Radars.
With Stealthiness of the jet in question, it will have a direct impact on the operations of the Indian air force since India’s regional rival China has already invested heavily in the development of series of Anti-stealth radars and sensors which will make its way into Pakistan in next few years.
FGFA for sure still will be far superior aircraft when compared to any aircraft which Pakistan and China will ever field and FGFA will remain superior for next few decades in the region, even though Chinese have developed J-20 and J-31 Stealth fighters.
India seems to be fully aware that Russia is delivering India a half baked 5th generation fighter jet which requires Indian touch to recreate the whole Sukhoi-30MKI program which lead to the development of most feared and most admired Russian fighter jets among western fighter pilots.