Russia and India Had Big Plans to Build a Stealth Fighter. So What Happened?

    Zachary Keck


    RIP. And now we know why. 

    India backed out of a $ 9 billion agreement to develop a fifth-generation fighter jet with Russia because it didn’t need Moscow’s help, according to a new report.

    On June 13, India’s Economic Times reported that Delhi pulled out of the agreement at the direction of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India’s premier defense technology agency. Citing “sources who were involved in the negotiations and are knowledgeable about the decision,” the Economic Times said the “final nail in the coffin” was DRDO’s insistence that it could develop all the technologies Russia was offering in the the PAK FA project.

    Previously, it was believed that India had soured on the agreement because the Indian Air Force (IAF) didn’t believe that Russia’s designs could meet its operational needs. The new report said that the IAF did indeed have these concerns, however, they were informed that measures could be taken that could address these reservations. While these discussions were ongoing, DRDO was asked about its opinion of the project, and “whether the deal would result in the infusion of high-end technologies in India.” The “emphatic response by then DRDO chief, S Christopher,” was that his organization was capable of producing the necessary technology itself. This “sealed the fate of the program,” according to the Economic Times.

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