The first Indian-Russian Military Industrial Conference was a timely reminder of the two nations’ historic defence ties
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Still Going Strong

The first Indian-Russian Military Industrial Conference was a timely reminder of the two nations’ historic defence ties

Aditya Kakkar

Two major agreements were signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and United Engine Corporation (UEC) of Russia for long-term supply of spares and rendering technical assistance over five years for the Su-30 MKI aircraft on March 17. The agreements were signed by HAL Chairman Suvarna Raju, UAC President Yuri Slyusar and UEC Director General Alexander Artyukhov at the first Indian-Russian Military Industrial Conference held in New Delhi. The conference addressed issues related to life-cycle support and maintenance of major Russian-origin platforms such as the SU-30 MKI fighter aircraft, Mi-17 helicopters, MiG-29K aircraft, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks. The two-day conference was attended by Russia’s minister for industry and trade, Denis Manturov. He held talks with the newly appointed India’s defence minister, Arun Jaitley.

United Aircraft-Building Corporation President Yuri Slyusar said that his company will ensure proper maintenance of the frontline fighter fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF). As most of the critical Indian military platforms are of Russian origin, sourcing their spares and looking after their maintenance remains a big challenge. The Su-30MKI fighter fleet is plagued by frequent engine failure-in-air and engine-related problems and poor operational serviceability, due to spare supply problems. The two agreements that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed with United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and United Engine Corporation (UEC) are likely to address the servicing issues in the next five years.

The deputy director of Russian Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Vladimir Drozhzhov, said that Russia and India have already agreed on a draft contract for joint development of a fighter and the Russian side is ready to sign it. Earlier, it was reported that the agreement on experimental design will be entered for six years and Russia and India will invest USD 4 billion to develop a prototype. At the same time, the total cost of production of 127 fighters was estimated at USD 25 billion.

T. Suvarna Raju
T. Suvarna Raju and UAC President Y.B. Slyusar signing an agreement in the presence of the union minister for finance, corporate affairs and defence, Arun Jaitley and the minister of industry and trade of Russian Federation, Denis Manturov at the inaugural session of the India-Russia Military Industrial Conference in New Delhi. The defence secretary G. Mohan Kumar is also seen in the picture

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