Mega defence deals lined up for Putin

Reaffirming their long-standing bilateral defence ties, India and Russia are set to sign defence deals worth several thousand crores during the visit of President Vladimir Putin on Monday, including a mega contract to buy additional Sukhoi 30 MKI fighters equipped with the Indo-Russian Brahmos cruise missiles.

It is learnt that during the official visit that begins on Monday, a host of pending defence contracts are likely to be inked, the biggest being a deal to purchase 42 additional Su 30 MKI fighters. The deal is pegged at over Rs 20,000 crore and will make these fighters the first to be equipped with the air launched version of the Brahmos missile. Once signed, the deal will bring the total number of Sukhoi fighters in the IAF to 272.

The air force is also set to get two additional IL 76 based Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) a joint collaboration between Russia and Israel in a deal that is pegged at Rs 3,306 crore. This will bring the fleet of the IL 76 borne system in the IAF to five, with three already in service.

Sources said another multi-crore deal that is likely to be finalised during the visit is an additional order for 71 new Mi 17 V5 helicopters that are the backbone of IAF's helicopter transport fleet. These choppers will be in addition to the 80 Mi 17 5 that are already on order. Out of the 71 new choppers to be purchased, 59 will be for the air force and the rest will go to the home ministry. This deal is expected to be upwards of Rs 7,000 crore.

The Army too is set to get Russian equipment with the two nations likely to sign a deal for procuring 25,000 anti-tank missiles. The proposal for Invar missiles, which can fired from the barrel of the T 90 main battle tank, is expected to cost close to Rs 4,000 crore.

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