Russia showcases fighters, helicopters and drones at Asia’s biggest air show
Russia has reportedly reached out to India about manufacturing the Su-75 light tactical fighter jet, also referred to as the “Checkmate.”
According to TASS, quoting sources in Russia’s state-owned defense consortium Rostec, cooperation with India on the Su-75 project will be discussed during the 14th biennial Aero India 2023 International Aerospace Exhibition. The show started on Monday at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru.
Rosoboronexport, the Russian state agency for international arms trade, is the organizer of Russia’s collective display at the event.
“Rosoboronexport is a permanent exhibitor at Aero India, one of the world’s largest air shows, where the Russian display traditionally stands out for its scale and the range of exhibited products for the Air and Air Defense Forces. The exhibition gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase modern Russian-made weaponry and discuss the areas for further bilateral cooperation with India,” said Rosoboronexport Director-General Aleksandr Mikheev in a press release.
“The military-technical cooperation between Russia and India is an example of industrial partnership with a number of completed and ongoing joint projects for all services of the armed forces. Today we are offering new points of cooperation within the joint development and production of high-tech products on the premises of Indian enterprises under the national ‘Make in India’ program in compliance with all localization and technology transfer requirements,” he added.
About 200 examples of advanced Russian-made armaments and military hardware are on display, including the advanced Su-57E fifth-generation multirole fighter, the Checkmate light tactical aircraft, the IL-76MD-90A(E) military transport aircraft, the IL-78MK-90A tanker aircraft, the Su-35 and the Su-30SME super-manoeuvrable fighters, and the MiG-35D multirole frontline fighter.
Rosoboronexport also showcased the Ka-226T light utility helicopter, the production of which has been suggested for launch under the “Make in India” program on the premises of Indo-Russian Helicopters Limited, a joint venture with the participation of Russian and Indian companies. A wide range of Russian military helicopters are present as well. Among them are the upgraded versions of the Ka-52E and Mi-28NE attack helicopters and the Mi-171Sh military transport helicopters, which are in high demand in the Asia-Pacific region.
Russian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are also on display, including some of the same models used in the fighting against the Ukrainian armed forces. The line-up includes the Orion-E reconnaissance/strike UAV, the Orlan-10E reconnaissance UAV and the Orlan-30, a new product launched last year, designed for conducting aerial surveillance, and locating, spotting, and identifying objects in both the visible and infrared spectrums.
In the air defense segment, Rosoboronexport is showcasing an entire range of assets that can operate both independently and as part of an echeloned air defense system – the S-350E Vityaz air defence missile system, the Viking, Tor-M2KM, Tor-M2E SAM systems, and the Pantsir-S1 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun/missile (SPAAGM) system, as well as the Igla-S and Verba man-portable air defense systems and anti-drone weapons.
Russia is engaged in technical consultations with India on the production of the Pantsir-S1 and the Tor-M2KM, as well as the Boomerang infantry fighting vehicles and UAVs, in line with the memoranda of understanding that were signed with India’s Bharat Earth Movers Limited.
The Russian delegates plan to hold meetings and negotiations with representatives of defense ministries and other security agencies from India and other countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The company expects to work extensively with state-owned and private enterprises of the Indian defence industry in a bid to expand the scope of industrial partnership between the countries.
The Su-75 Checkmate, one of the main projects reportedly being discussed, was first unveiled in Russia in July 2021 and later put on display at the Dubai Airshow in November the same year.
Rostec plans to roll out a batch of piloted Checkmate aircraft, which is based on stealth technology and capable of carrying air-to-air and air-to-ground armaments, in 2026. Mass production is likely to start the following year. The Checkmate’s stated capabilities include carrying a payload of over seven tonnes and the ability to strike up to six targets simultaneously. It will fly at Mach 1.8 (1.8 times the speed of sound) and its operating range will be up to 3,000 kilometres.
Russia and India have previously collaborated on creating a fifth-generation fighter aircraft. A joint project between Sukhoi and Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), it was planned to be a modification of the Su-57 for the Indian Air Force, but the project was scrapped in 2018 due to cost overruns.
Russia remains one of India’s top military suppliers, having exported around $13 billion worth of hardware over the past five years. New Delhi has placed orders with Moscow for weapons and military equipment exceeding $10 billion. India is the world's biggest buyer of Russian arms, accounting for around 20% of Moscow's current orders, according to Dmitry Shugayev, the head of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.
Aero India is Asia’s biggest air show, with this year’s event attended by representatives of 98 countries and over 700 defense companies from across the world. Defense ministers from 32 countries, air chiefs from 29 countries and 73 CEOs of global and Indian original equipment manufacturers are expected to attend the five-day event.