India and Russia on Friday signed two long-term support agreements, including one for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet, which is the mainstay of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The agreements signed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation of Russia also provides for life-cycle support of Russian-origin Mi-17 helicopters and MiG-29K aircraft.
The two countries also signed agreements for maintenance and life-cycle support for other Russian-origin platforms such as Naval aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and the Army's T-90 tanks.
The pacts, signed on the sidelines of the India-Russia Military Industrial Conference in New Delhi on Friday, provide for an upgraded schedule for delivery of spares from Russia for the Sukhoi jets, local manufacturing of parts and a proposed logistics hub for the fighter jets in Bengaluru by HAL.
''With regard to maintenance and life-cycle support, it is our endeavour that most of the components and spare parts required for maintaining the platforms, which have been procured from Russian companies, are manufactured by Indian companies through technology transfer or through joint ventures with Russian companies, so that the serviceability of the platforms is improved and we do not lose critical time in repairing and maintaining equipment,'' defence minister Arun Jaitley said.
He called upon Russian companies to come forward for technology transfer to Indian companies and facilitate manufacturing of components / parts and sub-systems at least for those cases where the requirement is in large numbers and is recurring in nature. The minister was of the opinion that there is tremendous potential for collaboration between Indian and Russian companies for export, so as to become part of the global supply chain.
The Su-30MKI was designed and developed by Russia's Irkut Corporation, specifically for India. The licensed production of the aircraft takes place at HAL's facility in Nashik, Maharashtra.
''We must take advantage of this opportunity to finalise some of the agreements or tie-ups for long-term supply agreements and manufacturing of spare parts / components in India. It is a unique opportunity where both Indian and Russian industries are present on a single forum in such a large number,'' said Jaitley.
Minister for industry and trade of the Russian Federation, Denis Montoro, who jointly inaugurated the conference, also addressed the gathering. About 150 representatives from Russia, which includes over 100 representatives from its defence industry, are participating in the conference. Major Russian companies include United Aircraft Corporation, United Engine Corporation, RAC MiG, Russian Helicopters and Ural Vagonzavod. From the Indian side over 100 private companies including several SMEs are participating.
Organised by the Department of Defence Production in the ministry of defence, the conference assumes significance in the backdrop of the 'Make in India' initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Apart from deliberations on various policy issues, break-out sessions on aerospace, naval systems and land systems are also planned. The conference will provide an opportunity to Indian industry to explore possibilities of manufacturing of parts / components of Russian equipment in India through partnerships with Russian companies.