Russia Still Has High Hopes for Defense Sales to India

 - February 7, 2013, 5:59 AM
Russia sent a large defense industry contingent to this year's Aero India show in the hope of adding to past sales success in India, where equipment such as the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter has already won acceptance. [Photo: Rakesh Mangaraj--India MoD].

Russia’s defense industry is looking this week’s Aero India show as a platform from which to bounce back from recent defeats in international tender contests. In an interview with Russian media on the eve of the show, Alexander Fomin, director at the Federal Service for military-technical cooperation with foreign countries (FSVTS), and head of Russian official delegation to the event in Bangalore, pointed out that India remains the largest importer of Russian military products.

The Russian Technologies (Rostech) group has occupied a 9,500-sq-ft space at Aero India, bringing together 37 Russian companies. One of the prime exhibits this year is a simulator for practicing the refueling of MiG-29 fighters that is making its international debut.

Fomin said Russia still has hopes of winning India’s on-going tender for 198 light helicopters for which Kamov’s Ka-226T aircraft is competing. Unofficial reports ahead of Aero India 2013 indicated that the Russian model has been deselected from the contest. “Russia has lost many times over the past few years, so that’s a tendency,” said Fomin. “But we do not see anything catastrophic in it. We lose some and win some."

Fomin was enthusiastic about the fifth generation fighter aircraft being developed jointly with Indian partners on the base of the Sukhoi PAK FA fighter. “There is a lot of high ambition loaded into this project,” he said. “India is very actively participating with its scientific, technological and industrial potential. Both sides involved in this project are investing a lot into it, and on equal terms.”

According to Fomin, Russia also has strong prospects in exporting carrier-based Naval combat aircraft. In this regard, 4 out of 29 MiG-29K/KUB ordered as part of a second batch by India have been delivered. At the same time, he had to acknowledge that Russia has not yet been invited to bid in for India’s newly announced tender for 120 naval helicopters.

At a Rostech press conference in Bangalore on February 6, Russian officials said that depending on what requirements are set forward by the Indian side, Russian Helicopters will respond with either a further development of the Ka-27/28/32 series medium weight rotorcraft or a navalized Ka-226TM light helicopter. The new version will be able to carry a more capable suite of sensors, including anti-submarine detection systems, as well as missiles, depth charges and torpedoes.