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India and Russia to build super-fighter in record defence contract

India and Russia signed on Tuesday India's largest ever defence deal, worth $30 billion, for fifth-generation fighter aircraft, reports said.

India will take delivery of 250 of the stealth fighters between 2020 and 2030, each of which will ultimately cost $100m.

The agreement is notable in underlining how India is now not only looking to acquire equipment but also to ensure that transfer of technological know-how to its domestic industry is integral to such deals.

The aircraft will be jointly developed and built by the two countries, with 40 scientists from the two countries working on the project.

The first prototype (pictured) flew in January 2010 and the second is to fly next year, developing on the first with Indian input. New Delhi has released $295 million towards the design contract.

Russian firms Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi and Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will build the termed the Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF) jets for the two air forces.

The two countries also registered another joint venture between Russian UAC and Rosoboronexport and HAL to develop and co-produce multi-role transport aircraft.

The project will produce 250 transport aircraft.

Meanwhile, Indian and Russian officials also made progress in talks on a contract to upgrade the India’s existing fleet of Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft.

India is undertaking a massive expansion of its military in the coming decades.

Western firms are eyeing Indian defence projects that include a $10-billion jet fighter contract, a $600 million order for light combat helicopters for the Indian Army, for six mid-air re-fueller aircraft worth $2 billion, and for six submarines worth $11 billion.

Promoting his country's firms, German Ambassador Thomas Matussek told reporters in Delhi earlier this month:"'Germany offers technology transfer on a broader scale. We want to offer you perhaps more than competitors. We want to offer you full technology transfer."