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Subject: Stealth aircraft, HAL Tejas, List of attack aircraft, Indian Armed Forces
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Role Stealth Air superiority fighter/Multirole combat aircraft
National origin Russia/India
Manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
Designer Sukhoi/Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
First flight 2014
Introduction 2022[1]
Status Research and development contract to be signed in 2013.[2]
Primary user Indian Air Force
Program cost US$ 30 billion
Unit cost
US$100 million (est.)[3]
Developed from Sukhoi PAK FA

The Sukhoi/HAL Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) is a fifth-generation fighter being developed by India and Russia. It is a derivative project from the PAK FA (T-50 is the prototype) being developed for the Indian Air Force. FGFA was the earlier designation for the Indian version, while the combined project is now called the Perspective Multi-Role Fighter (PMF).[4]

The completed PMF will include a total of 43 improvements over the T-50, including stealth, supercruise, advanced sensors, networking and combat avionics.[5][6]

Two separate prototypes will be developed, one by Russia and a separate one by India. According to erstwhile HAL chairman A.K. Baweja (speaking shortly after the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on 18 September 2008), both the Russian and Indian versions of the aircraft will be single-seater.[7] The first aircraft will begin testing in India in 2014, with introduction into service expected by 2022.[1]

The Editor in chief of Natsionalnaya Oborona, Dr Igor Korotchenko, said that exports of the jointly designed fighter should help Russia increase its share of arms exports to the world.[8]


Following the success of the Brahmos project, Russia and India agreed in early 2007 to jointly study and develop a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme.[9][10] On 27 October 2007, Sukhoi's director, Mikhail Pogosyan stated, "We will share the funding, engineering and intellectual property in a 50-50 proportion" in an interview with Asia Times.[11]

On 11 September 2010, it was reported that India and Russia had agreed on a preliminary design contract, subject to Cabinet approval. The joint development deal would have each country invest $6 billion and take 8–10 years to develop the FGFA fighter.[12] In December 2010, a memorandum of understanding for preliminary design of the Indo-Russian fighter was reportedly signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), and Russian companies Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi.[13][14] The preliminary design will cost $295 million and will be complete within 18 months.[15] On 17 August 2011, media reports stated that the new fighter will cost Russia and India $6 billion to develop, and India will pay about 35% of the cost.[16][17]

The Indian version, according to the deal, will be different from the Russian version and specific to Indian requirements.[18] While the Russian version will be a single-pilot fighter, the Indian variant will based on its operational doctrine which calls for greater radius of combat operations. The wings and control surfaces need to be reworked for the FGFA.[19] Although, development work has yet to begin, the Russian side has expressed optimism that a test article will be ready for its maiden flight by 2009, one year after PAK FA scheduled maiden flight and induction into service by 2015.[20]

By February 2009, as per Sukhoi General Director Mikhail Pogosyan, India will initially get the same PAK FA fighter of Russia and the only difference will be the software.

In 2010, Sukhoi director Mikhail Pogosyan projected a market for 1000 aircraft over the next four decades, 200 each for Russia and India and 600 for other countries.[21] Russian Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko said that the aircraft are to be jointly developed and produced with India and both countries will "share benefits from selling the plane not only on their domestic markets, but also on the markets of third countries."[22]

In 2011, it was reported that IAF would induct 148 single seat as well as 66 dual seat variants of the FGFA. IAF plans to induct the first lot of aircraft by 2017.[23] By 2012 this had been changed to 214 single seat aircraft.[24]

In 2013, it was revealed that the Russian and Indian PMFs would be using the same avionics.[25] And Alexander Fomin said that "Both sides involved in this project are investing a lot into it, and on equal terms."[26] Russia later admitted to huge delays and cost overruns in the project.[27] The first prototype delivery has been delayed by one or two years, the contract will not be finalized before 2015, and the IAF has accused HAL of giving away up to half of India's share of the development work.[28][29] Despite paying half the development cost, India will only receive a 15% work share on the project.[30]


Although there is no reliable information about the PAK FA and FGFA specifications yet, it is known from interviews with people in the Russian Air Force that it will be stealthy, have the ability to supercruise, be outfitted with the next generation of air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-to-ship missiles, and incorporate an AESA radar. The FGFA will use on its first flights 2 Saturn 117S engines (about 14.5 kiloton thrust each). The 117S is an advanced version of the AL-31F, but built with the experience gained in the AL-41F program. The AL-41F powered the Mikoyan MFI fighter (Mikoyan Project 1.44). Later versions of the PAK FA will use a completely new engine (17.5 kiloton thrust each), developed by NPO Saturn or FGUP MMPP Salyut.

Three Russian companies will compete to provide the engines with the final version to be delivered in 2015-2016.[31]

HAL negotiated successfully to get a 25 per cent share of design and development work in the FGFA programme. HAL’s work share will include critical software including the mission computer, navigation systems, most of the cockpit displays, the counter measure dispensing (CMD) systems and modifying Sukhoi’s prototype into fighter as per the requirement of the Indian Air Force (IAF).[32]

Russian expertise in titanium structures will be complemented by India’s experience in composites like in the fuselage. A total of 500 aircraft are planned with option for further aircraft. Russian Air Force will have 200 single seated and 50 twin-seated PAK FAs while Indian Air Force will get 166 single seated and 48 twin-seated FGFAs.[33][34] At this stage, the Sukhoi holding is expected to carry out 80% of the work involved. Under the project terms, single-seat fighters will be assembled in Russia, while Hindustan Aeronautics will assemble two-seaters.[35]

According to HAL chairman A.K. Baweja on 16 September 2008, HAL will be contributing largely to composites, cockpits and avionics. HAL is working to enter into a joint development mechanism with Russia for the evolution of the FGFA engine as an upward derivative of the AL-37. Speaking to Flight magazine, United Aircraft chief Mikhail Pogosyan said India is giving engineering inputs covering latest airframe design, Hi-Tech software development and other systems.[36]

Difference between T-50 and FGFA

The FGFA will be predominantly armed with weapons of Indian origin such as the Astra, a Beyond Visual Range missile (BVR) being developed by India. Although in keeping with the Russian BVR doctrine of using a variety of different missiles for versatility and unpredictability to countermeasures, the aircraft is expected to have compatibility with various missile types. The FGFA may include systems developed by third parties.[37] It would also include advanced Indian composites in its structure. Majority of the software would be of Indian origin, along with Indian avionics. HAL will also make about 30% Design changes.

The completed joint Indian/Russian versions of the operational fighters will differ from the current flying prototypes through the addition of stealth, supercruise, sensors, networking, and combat avionics for a total of 43 improvements.[5]

Delays and cost increases

In May 2012, five years before the original scheduled completion of the aircraft, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced a two-year delay in the project's development. The Defense Minister A K Antony had said that the FGFA would join the Indian Air Force by 2017. However, his deputy, M M Pallam Raju, told the Parliament that the fifth generation aircraft is scheduled to be certified by 2019, following which the series production will start.[38] Ashok Nayak, who spoke on the record as HAL’s chairman before retiring, explained that 40-45 improvements have been specified by the IAF, which were required before the PAK-FA could meet Indian needs. These changes were then formalized into an agreed list between Russia and India, the Tactical Technical Assignment.[38]

There is apprehension that the FGFA would significantly exceed its current $6 billion budget, because this figure reflects the expenditure on just the basic aircraft. Crucial avionics systems would cost extra.[39] The Russian and Indian air forces plan to purchase about 250 FGFAs each, at an estimated cost of $100 million per fighter. That adds up to $25 billion from each nation, in addition to the development costs.[39]

By October 2012, India had cut its total purchase size from 200 to 144 aircraft, the initial investment required from India had grown from $5 billion to $6 billion, and the estimated total program cost for India had grown to $30 billion.[40]

A preliminary design contract between India and Russia worth $295 million was signed in December 2010 for the design phase of the aircraft. Negotiations for research and development contracts are expected to be completed in 2014. India only contributes 15 percent of the research and development work, but shares half the cost. Total program cost for India is expected to be $25 billion.[41]

Specifications (PAK FA and FGFA - projected)

Most of these figures are for the Sukhoi T-50 prototype and not the finished HAL FGFA.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 19.8 m (65.9 ft)
  • Wingspan: 14 m (46.6 ft)
  • Height: 6.05 m (19.8 ft)
  • Wing area: 78.8 m2 (848.1 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 18,500 kg (40,785 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 29,772 kg[N 1] (65,636 lb)
  • Useful load: 7,500 kg (combat load) (16,534 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 37,000 kg (81,570 lb)
  • Fuel capability: 10,300 kg (22,711 lb)


  • Guns: 30 mm internal cannon
  • Hardpoints: 6 internal, 6 on wings.


  • Sh121 multifunctional integrated radio electronic system (MIRES)
    • N036 radar built by Tikhomirov NIIP
      • Main X-band N036-1-01 AESA radar with 1522 T/R modules
      • 2 Side facing X-band N036B-1-01 AESA radars with 358 T/R modules each, to increase angular coverage
      • 2 L-band N036L-1-01 arrays on the Leading-edge extension for IFF functionality
    • L402 ECM suite built by KNIRTI institute
  • 101KS electro-optical suite[44]
    • 101KS-O: Laser-based countermeasures against infrared missiles
    • 101KS-V: IRST for airborne targets
    • 101KS-U: Ultraviolet warning sensors
    • 101KS-N: Targeting pod

See also


External links

News reports and articles:

  • air-attack NEWS
  • Indo-Russian 5th Generation Fighter Agreement Signed
  • HAL's Baweja: Two different prototypes of 5th Gen fighter, etc
  • Indo-Russian fifth generation fighter aircraft to fly by 2015
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