Russia’s largest aircraft manufacturer United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is entering a new era of cooperation with India, with the launching of the development of Prospective Multi-Role Fighter (PMF). Embarked December 2010 by UAC, Irkut and HAL, it was inaugurated in a press conference held at Aero-India 2011. Mikhail Pogosyan, recently nominated the new general director of UAC presented his view of the evolving cooperation between the two countries.
“The 5th Generation fighter is a most important step for the future relationship of the two countries’ said Pogosyan. The Russian T50 providing the basis for FGFA has already performed 40 flights and is undergoing ground testing, using three test articles, undergoing various static ground tests. Two additional T50 prototypes will join the test unit this year, accelerating the development progress. Pogosyan expects the program to complete the first phase next year. He assured that the Indian concern for sharing technology in the program was well covered in the contract, to the mutual satisfaction of both sides.”We are moving into a new level of cooperation, based on good and sound basis proven with MiG-27 3rd generation and Su-30 fourth generation aircraft.” Pogosyan added.
He addressed the long cooperation between Russian and Indian aerospace companies, specifically in local production and upgrading of aircraft, with past programs including MiG-27, and upgrades currently underway, of the MiG-29, the modernized plan, to be equipped with new cockpit, avionics and radar, made its first flight earlier in February.
“This aircraft will be capable of operating the latest air/air and air/ground the Indian Air Force is requiring” Pogosyan said. He told reporters the program will span over several years and include at least 60 aircraft.
A contender in the Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, MiG-35 has not made it to Aero-India but has advanced through flight demonstration, in India and in Russia. It was modified to address specific Indian requirements, and Pogosyan said he is confident it is well positioned in effort to win the MMRCA race. “The important demonstrations are not at the airshow but are done with the customer, where we can demonstrate the real capabilities of our aircraft” he rebuffed critics questioning the MiG’s absence from the show. “We demonstrated our capabilities and are awaiting the tender committee’s response” he concluded.
Another upgrade program currently in the planning addresses the Su-30MKI, which will receive a new radar, and, most importantly, integration of Indian BrahMos missile carrying- capability. A Su-30MKI carrying a BrahMos missile at the centerline is on display here at Yalahanka.
On the civil side, Pogosyan is optimistic about the progress of Superjet 100, which recently passed certification, and the MC-21 which is also showing great progress. “It is turning from virtual design to reality” Pogosyan said. In November 2010 the aircraft passed preliminary design review of the airframe, the first gas generator is being tested at Perm, and primary composite parts supplied. Designed to reduce operating cost of regional aircraft by 12-15 percent, MC-21 has confirmed 50 orders while still on the drawing board, with customers commited to buying 190 aircraft, testifying to the high credibility UAC and Irkut, gained through the current Superjet program. MC-21 is expected to be ready for first flight in 2014 and complete certification two years later. By April the team will freeze the design and decide on the final selection of suppliers, and Pogosyan encouraged Indian aerospace manufacturers and subcontractors to extend Indo-Russian cooperation into commercial aviation programs, “This is the right time to step in” Pogosyan concluded.
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