BANGALORE. Even as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking for options for diversifying sources of its inventory beyond dependence on Russia, but India still remains big on its radar and Russia seems unwilling to yield its niche in Indian arms bazaar to the Western arms exporters.
At the biennial Aero India 2017 international aerospace held at Yelahanka Air Force Station near here February 14-18, Russia was perhaps one of the biggest foreign participants. Russian stalls had a spread of over 900 square meters in the main hall of the aerospace show where its top 14 military-industrial entities displayed over 300 exhibits ranging from static models of fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) to electronic warfare suits and next generation jet engines to sensors for protection of border and highly sensitive installations. Not only this, it had sent a 300-strong team of top defence industry officials headed by the Deputy Director General of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Mr Vladimir Drozhzhov, top arms export controller. The Russian delegation also included Head of the International Cooperation Department of Rostec defence industry holding, Mr Viktor Kladov and Deputy CEO of Rosoboronexport, Mr Sergei Goreslavsky.
As “Make in India” was the guiding mantra of Aero India 2017, the Russians were feeling confident with their long experience of arms production association with India. “Russia has the richest experience in Make in India, beginning from supersonic MiG-21s over 600 of which were produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Nasik plant under license, to the current production of state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-30 MKI multi-role fighters at the same facility.
No doubt Indo-Russian BrahMos Aerospace JV is a trailblazer for others to follow,” Mr Drozhzhov said talking to India Strategic.
Drozhzhov, who identified BrahMos JV as the brilliant and most successful example of Make in India project said the work on integration of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles on Su-30MKI platform is proceeding well and once the trials are complete, foreign buyers and Russian Air Force would also be offered this jointly developed missile.
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