Russia offers India aviation secrets in fighter contract bid

MOSCOW, March 14, 2008 (AFP) – Russia is ready to hand India military aircraft engineering secrets in a bid to win a 12-billion dollar (7.65-billion euro) aviation contract tender, Interfax agency reported Friday. Other world military aviation giants competing for the contract include Americans Boeing and Lockheed Martin, French group Dassault, the European consortium behind the Eurofighter and Saab of Sweden’s Gripen brand.

“If the Indian government decides to buy the MiG-35 (fighter), we will transfer to India the key technologies used in these aircraft including fifth generation technologies,” manufacturers MiG said in a statement.

These ‘fifth generation’ elements include what analysts have said is greatly improved manoeuvrability on older models, plus a new radar system capable of simultaneously tracking, and attacking, over 20 targets from the cockpit.

The Indian government announced in February it had extended a deadline for global military aviation giants to bid to sell a fleet of 126 fighter jets to replace ageing MiG-21 hardware.

Under the tender conditions, 18 aircraft will be delivered up front — with the rest to be built in India.