Interview of FSMTC of Russia Deputy Director V.K.Dzirkaln to Interfax AVN Agency
FSMTC of Russia Deputy Director Viacheslav Dzirkaln: "In the military and technical cooperation with India, we departed from the scheme "seller-buyer" long time ago, and today, we maintain equal partnership relations"
Russia maintains military and technical cooperation with more than 80 countries. But today, the partner number one in MTC is, undoubtedly, India. India is the recipient of more than 30 percent of all Russian weaponry export.
Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC of Russia) Vyacheslav DZIRKALN told Interfax-AVN about how the interstate program for the Russian-Indian military and technical cooperation for the period from 2010 to 2020 is being implemented, and whether there is a potential for further escalating MTC scope.
- First of all, I would like to note that the military and technical cooperation with India focuses on licensed manufacture or transfer of licenses and setting up manufacture of hi-tech military purpose products in India, and modernisation of the equipment earlier delivered there.
It is difficult to estimate the cost of the current MTC program with India as scope and parametres of our cooperation will be defined further as we progress in our business. As to implementation of the previous program covering the period from 2000 to 2010, the total amount of the signed contracts was worth $30 billion. It is a huge amount. I believe that the scope of the current program will be, at least, not less.
Today, India is our main partner in MTC. India’s share in the total amount of military and technical cooperation with foreign countries equals more than one third.
- You said that today, MTC with India focuses not on direct deliveries, but rather on joint developments, and licensed manufacture. To what extent successful are projects for joint development of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, licensed manufacture of Su-30MKI fighters, and Т-90S tanks, in your opinion?
- These projects are a vivid example of successful and productive military and technical cooperation with India. Let’s take BrahMos. The missile created by joint efforts is already accepted for service in the Land forces and the Navy of India. Today, we work on its fitting on the carrier. The amount of missiles delivered only for needs of the Armed forces of India is estimated approximately in a thousand of units.
As to licensed manufacture of Russian T-90S tanks and Su-30MKI aircraft, these programs are also being successfully implemented. Moreover, now, we together with our Indian partners are engaged in an intense work on a fifth generation fighter and joint development and manufacture of a medium haul transport aircraft. These programs will also be connected with transfer of licences and technologies. It means a huge potential, and I think that here, we face very promising prospects.
- It is known that until recently, Russia has dominated in the Indian weapon market. Today, Delhi diversifies suppliers of arms. The USA, Israel, France, and the UK, for example, perform here as very strong actors. Will it not lead to reducing amounts of deliveries of Russian weapons in the near future?
- India is keen on buying the most advanced and latest arms. Naturally, in search of the best, they apply not only to us, but also to other manufacturers. To a certain extent, it makes us work better and proactively. A monopolistic position in any market discourages, and this is the way to stagnation.
Naturally, activity of the leading western companies in the Indian market causes certain concern in terms of whether we are able to compete? But our industry is enough mobile and flexible, and we have many robust developments to support our ability to compete.
Here, I would like to note one more thing – it is only Russia that is committed to the strategic partnership agreement signed with the Indian partners. I mean our commitments to India on non-deliveries of arms and materiel to Pakistan. Unlike our western competitors, we strictly comply with them, despite those possible economic dividends that could have been earned from cooperation with Pakistan.
I reiterate that we are loyal to our friends, honour our obligations, strictly comply with them, and we are committed to our course. And our Indian partners appreciate it.
- Probably, an important factor of our cooperation is also that Russia is ready to offer India such amount of a technological transfer, which any other country cannot do, isn’t it?
- It is really so. I have already said that our cooperation with India is based not only on deliveries of finished models, but shifts more and more to the licensed manufacture, and joint R&D. I will name only one figure – now, we work with India on approximately forty R&D subjects. In the military and technical cooperation with India, we departed from the scheme "seller-buyer" long time ago, and today, we maintain equal partnership relations.
Today, no country co-operates with India in technologies in such scope as Russia. And we do not relate our economic interests with any political ambitions. Here, all is open and transparent.
- Today, the project of a fifth generation fighter is one of the most significant Russian-Indian projects. At what stage are works under this program?
- All goes according to the schedule. Most of organizational issues have been addressed. We have completed necessary coordination on determining performance of the aircraft, and the Indian counterparties have submitted their additional requirements to the project proposed by us. Now, we have already started a practical stage of this project.
At present, a group of specialists and engineers of HAL, Indian Aircraft Building Concern, who are engaged in nuts and bolts of the project, works in Sukhoi OKB.
- And what about the contract on the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier? Can you manage scheduled delivery of the ship to the customer?
- At present, we do not have any doubts about scheduled timing of the ship transfer to India. Tight schedule is set for enterprises of the industry in charge of this project, and other associated organisations, i.e. December, 2012.
Now, the aircraft carrier is tested in the Barents Sea. Flights, i.e. takes off and landing of aircraft and helicopters from a ship deck, have been already completed. Training of a group of the Indian specialists on the ship is conducted. In a word, all goes under the schedule.
- Recently, Russia has transferred to India for leasing Nerpa nuclear submarine, whether you conduct talks on leasing of other materiel, in particular, Tu-22M3 long-ranger bombers, and A-50 AEW&C?
- No, such talks are not conducted.
- What are our chances for winning helicopter tenders held by India, in which Ka-226 light helicopter and Мi-26 the heavy transport helicopter take part? When winners of these tenders will be named?
- I cannot speak about the tender timing: it refers to the Indian party. As to our winning chances, we consider them high. We have successfully passed all necessary tests. Relevant certificates are signed by the Indian specialists.
Heavy helicopter does not have competitors. Mi-26 is a unique helicopter: in general, no similar prototypes exist in the world.
- When can a contract on delivery of an additional batch of 42 Su-30MKI fighters to India be signed?
- The Contract is prepared and almost completely discussed with the Indian counterparties. Now, it is submitted to the Ministry of Defence of India for approval. We hope that by the end of this year, it will be signed.
One more sign that the Russian combat material is reliable and qualitative is buying of Su-30MKI multipurpose fighters in the increased quantity by India.
- How do you estimate chances for concluding a new A-50EI AEW&C contract in addition to those three aircraft that have been already delivered to India?
- I do not exclude such possibility. The Ministry of Defence of India said about the necessity to increase the group of this aircraft. But the tender has not yet announced, and we have not yet received any official proposals from India. If such tender is announced, surely, we will participate in it.
- A considerable quantity of the Russian (Soviet) arms is in the service of the Indian army. Do we use all opportunities for their modernisation, and supply with spare parts? For example, Mi-35 helicopter was modernised not by us, but Israelis.
- Unfortunately, such fact really took place. Therefore, we tell all our foreign partners, including Indian one, that to do such works like modernisation without participation of the Russian developers of arms and materiel is not absolutely right.
At present, we have many solutions on modernisation of equipment of the Russian (Soviet) manufacture, and we inform about this foreign partners. And most of these solutions are already in metal, in real versions of arms and materiel.
I would like to comment that interest to our offers on modernisation of arms from foreign countries, including India, is great. In terms of saving funds, frequently, it is much more beneficial for our partners not to buy new arms, but rather modernize available combat material. Moreover, with rather small expenses, they receive highly effective and reliable equipment.
- It is known that we have a contract on modernisation of a large batch of MiG-29 fighters of the Indian Air Forces. How successful is it being implemented?
- MiG-29 program is on the go. In total, 56 fighters are planned to be modernised. Six leading aircraft have been already modernized in Russia, now, they are tested, and shortly, they will be transferred to the Indian counterparties. Indian specialists are trained at the Russian enterprises in performance of modernisation works on the aircraft.
- Can you expect additional deliveries of T-90S tanks to India? How many of our tanks, in total, can be manufactured in India under the licence?
- The Program for licensed manufacture of Т-90S in India assumes building of a thousand of tanks. But all will depend on requirements of the Indian partners as they develop own tank, and depending on the extent of success of this program, the Program for licensed manufacture of Т-90S will be adjusted accordingly.
- Until now, India, unlike many other foreign Russia partners, has been not much interested in our air defence systems. Has the situation changed here? Is there a chance for concluding contracts on delivery to India of Favorit S-300PMU2 air-defence missile system, Tor-М2E air-defence missile system, Buk-М2E air-defence missile system, and, in the long run, Triumf S-400?
- As they say, one who pays, orders music. Here much depends on those objectives set by Indian Armed forces, and how they see their strategy to develop air defence systems.
Nevertheless, now, we participate in a number of the Indian tenders for delivery of air defence systems, in particular, Igla-S man-portable air defence missile system, Tor-М2E air-defence missile system, Pantsir-S air-defence missile system. I would like to discuss Pantsir, in particular. It is our new, interesting development that recently has becomes rather popular.
I think that we have strong preconditions to increase our presence in the niche of air defence systems of India.
- Please, clear up the situation with the tender for purchase of six diesel-engine submarines by India, in which according to the mass-media, our DES of the Amur-1650 project takes part?
- Such tender has not yet been announced. The Indians made a statement about their intention to hold such tender, and, therefore, during the last three years, we have carried out pre-tender consultations, as it is very important that the documentation to be submitted for the tender has been prepared in the amount required for the Indians.
We really intend to propose for the tender the Lada submarine (for export it is offered under the name "Amur-1650"). I think that it has very good winning chances though competition will be tough. A forthcoming tender includes strong competitors, such as Germany with a 214 project submarine, and France with a Scorpиne class submarine. Nevertheless, we think that our submarine has a number of advantages versus German and French. First of all, it is equipped with very powerful missiles, including possible use of BrahMos missiles is very important for the Indian party.
Our second bargaining chip is that the whole infrastructure of the Naval Forces of India is designed for basing submarines of the Russian (Soviet) manufacture. And it means that they will not require much reworking, and adaptation. In terms of economics, it is too a critical component.
- What lessons have you learnt from the lost multi-billion Indian fighter tender in which our MiG-35 fighter participated? Is all clear in respect of this tender?
- We think that nothing is clear. A year and a half has already passed from the announcement of the tender results, but so far, contracts with the winner have not been concluded.
Moreover, neither Indian party, nor French party is satisfied with those arrangements that, as expected, will be formulated in the contract. It is a matter, first of all, of pricing and scope of technology transfer. A mutually acceptable decision has not been made either on the first, or the second issue. Prices are essentially raised, and the scope of a technology transfer is not as such as the Indian party would like.
Therefore, I would not elaborate on the issue of closure of the Indian fighter tender. According to our information, the tender is in suspense. If it is re-announced, we are ready to participate in this tender, taking into account those lessons learnt by us. It is normal.
Date of publication: 25.09.2012