January 26, 2014
Is the Russian arms industry getting soft?
Despite initial high expectations, the Indian Air Force appears to be souring on a joint development deal with Russia for a new fifth-generation fighter jet, according to the Business Standard, a major Indian business publication. The Russian prototype is “unreliable, its radar inadequate, its stealth features badly engineered,” said Indian Air Force Deputy Air Marshall S Sukumar at a Jan. 15 meeting, according to minutes obtained by the Business Standard.
That contrasts sharply with high hopes voiced by the Indian government when the joint project, to which the Indian government has contributed $6 billion, began. . . .
India is the largest arms importer in world, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and its military import large amounts from both Russia and western countries.
“The Indians for a long time have split their fighter industry between western work and Russian work,” Laird said.
“Clearly they want to go more Western because they recognize that the Russian stuff just isn’t up to the western standards. You only have so much money to go around, and like everybody else they’ve got financial pressures,” he added.
Other security experts said that India has a history of incompetence when it comes to military procurement, and so it did not necessarily reflect badly on Russia.