Can India re-look at the Russian SU-57 Fighter Jet over French Rafales and American F-21 (which Washington is offering to India)? Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa stated that India could still consider Russian, Fifth Generation, SU-57 Stealth Fighter Jet after it enters service with the Russian Air Force.
Indian Air Force chief made these comments in an interview to Krasnaya Zvezda, the official newspaper of the Russian army. Dhanoa was visiting on a goodwill tour to Russia from July 9 to July 12 according to Indian Media – The Week.
When enquired about the chance of India participating in the development of fighter-jet with Russia, Dhanoa said the Russian fifth-generation fighter was not really being considered yet. “When it (SU-57) is already put into service with Russia, only then New Delhi can decide. We are ready to consider it for acquisition after we see it in the case,” Dhanoa noted.
India and Russia had collaborated to develop a fifth-generation fighter jet. The India-variant, called the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), would have featured indigenous systems and be customised as per the requirements of the IAF.
The Indian Air Force was apprehensive about the competence of the SU-57’s engines and its stealth features. In 2018, then defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced India had informed Russia “they can go ahead with the project and we (India) may join it at a later stage”.
The first SU-57 is expected to be delivered to the Russian Air Force later this year. Moscow has announced a commitment to buy 76 Su-57 jets for the Russian Air Force by 2028.