Russian Aircraft Corp. has long historical ties with the Indian defence forces. How do you evaluate this cooperation, what lies ahead?
We have been partners with India for several decades. As you know, the legendary MiG-21 fighters are still operated by the IAF and their life cycle has been extended till 2025. This is one of the examples of our close partnership based on long experience. Today we can confirm that we have reached the stage of cooperation when we can offer a very significant level of localization of our aircraft systems, including setting up production of various components and units. Together with the Indian colleagues we have this experience in upgrading MiG-29 fighters.
Indian Navy has announced a tender for 57 multi-role carrier borne fighters. Will you bid for this?
Let me start with saying that in 2016 we successfully completed a contract with the Indian Navy for the supply of 45 MiG-29K/KUB. This aircraft system has proved its worth both in the Indian and Russian Navy. As you know, MiG-29K/KUB fighters took an active role in the Syrian conflict and showed their efficiency in combat performance receiving high marks from the Command and Navy pilots. It should also be noted that equipment of the Navy with aircraft systems that are already in operation is economically more efficient due to the already existing support infrastructure and lack of the need to retrain operating and support personnel. Having in mind this experience in the Russian Navy and recommendations from our pilots that have already mastered this aircraft system, I can confidently say that MiG-29K/KUB is an optimal carrier-borne multi-role fighter for the Navy’s purposes.
The Russian media says Moscow is ready to offer India its latest MiG-35 fighters. Your comments.
For sure, MiG-35 is an aircraft that the Indian Air Force is interested in, in terms of the cost-efficiency ratio. We are ready to negotiate with our Indian partners all issues related to supply of this aircraft system. Moreover, we are ready to make a notable contribution to the implementation of the ‘Make in India’ programme announced by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. It means that we are ready to discuss maximum possible localization.
Our corporation has already earned a good reputation in this respect with the MiG-29 fighter modernization programme to the latest UPG version that is implemented at HAL’s (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) facilities in Nashik. Russia may supply a certain number of finished aircraft and then switch to kit deliveries for the aircraft systems to be manufactured in the territory of India along with establishing local production of components.
Over the years we have established a basis for succession in military cooperation with India. It secures a notable economic advantage for MiG-35 making its operation 20% cheaper as compared to rivals.
What would be the terms of the MiG-35 deal?
An answer to this question we will be jointly reaching together with our Indian colleagues through negotiations on the supply terms of this aircraft system. I would like to state that we are not offering a single product. Our proposal includes a comprehensive solution that includes the aircraft proper, an automated training system with state-of-the-art equipment, as well as an after-sale service programme.
Will your strategic partnership be in parts’ supply or localized manufacturing?
We have designed offset programmes that include use of local air force base, specialist training and creation of new jobs, as well as modern technology transfer, joint R&D projects and setting up licensed production. Besides aircraft supply, RSK MiG provides flying and ground personnel training and retraining at our own premises or in the customer’s country.