Ilya Tarasenko, Director General, JSC Russian Aircraft Corporation ‘MiG’ is looking to offer its latest MiG-35 warplanes under the Indian Air Force’s global tender to acquire 110 fighters for around $20 billion. In an interview to BusinessLine , Tarasenko said the company is ready to build the fighter planes here under the transfer of technology at a competitive price. Excerpts:

Are you going to respond to the global tender floated by the Indian Air Force to acquire 110 fighter jets?

Of course, we will participate in this tender under the aegis of Rosoboronexport. We have already received the request from the Indian side. Historically, it happened that we always find common grounds with Indian partners. During our several years of cooperation we managed to understand the philosophy, culture and real needs. MiGs are already operational in this country for more than half a century.

Will you be willing to offer the latest MiG-35? How competitive will it be compared to those offered by your competitors such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and SAAB among others?

We will present the newest MiG-35 fighter for the tender and will promote it in accordance with the requirement of ‘Make-in-India’ programme. It means that we will offer a big offset programme. Together, with our Indian colleagues, we will carry out several works directly in India. Such works are already being carried out under current contracts. Taking into account the open architecture of the aviation complex, we will offer the customers different variants of the avionics nomenclature. As a counterbalance to foreign analogues, our air-to-surface armament of MiG-35 systems makes its possible to use armament against targets that are illuminated by its own laser from new generation optronic systems, as well as against targets illuminated by external ground and air source. Aviation complex makes it possible to use the whole spectrum of weapons, both existing and perspective ones, Russian and foreign, including those, that are for heavy fighters. In addition, MiG-35 is an interesting offer to the Indian Air Force in respect to cost-effectiveness factor. The MiG-35 multi-role fighter price will be competitive. I think it is too early for a comparison.

What are your plans under ‘Make in India’ for Russian fighter jets, including transfer of technology?

India is one of our main partners. Therefore, we are ready to make and are taking big steps with the Indian government in the framework of this programme. Transfer of technologies is possible.

Why have you not come out with clear plan on ‘Make in India’ yet for the MiG-35 …

The principles of military and technical cooperation of the RAC ‘MiG’ with India were always based on the closeness of views on the problems of ensuring safety in the world, as well as the openness and confidence in mutual relations. As a result of the implementation of the long-term programmes in the sphere of military and technical cooperation, both sides are mastering advanced technologies, creating high-tech industries and modern types of aviation hardware. As a result of more than 50 years of fruitful cooperation, both sides have mastered the technologies of designing, manufacturing and operation of the aircraft of generations II, III and IV that facilitated the strengthening of the countries’ defence and development of the national defence industry. We are sure that at this stage the equal partnership should continue, which undoubtedly will ensure economic benefit for both countries.

Would you ever build the MiG-35s here in India?

Organisation of MiG-35 production in India is possible after delivery of pilot batch of the aircraft. We are ready to discuss it with the government.

So you are planning to set up a manufacturing plant here for MiGs?

At present, the MiG-29 has upgraded to the level of MiG-28 (UPG), the modified version, in Nashik. Besides, India has already produced MiG -21 and MiG -27 aircraft. The aviation complex MiG-35 is to become the logical joint work continuation. We will establish both production and servicing facilities. There will be several stages. The first stage will be modular assembly using mod kits, supplied by us. In future, jointly with India, there will be the extension of localisation up to full production cycle.

And you are ready for full transfer of technology?

We are ready to transfer technologies and perform personnel training, since it will create new workplaces. We are planning to involve Indian private capital to make it comfortable for India in terms of financial security. Thus, a new modern production facility will happen. This procedure may be revised in the course of work, on the basis of mutual interests within the paradigm of historically developed fruitful cooperation.

Are you expecting additional orders for the Indian Navy’s 57 carrier-based fighter jet programme post the delivery of the carrier-based MiG-29K/KUB for INS Vikramaditya in 2016?

Yes, certainly. At present we are completing the construction of service infrastructure for MiG-29 aircraft in close cooperation with the Indian Air Force, Navy and several big Indian companies. We are setting up a maintenance centre and consignment warehouse for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance of MiG-29K/KUB aircraft. The works are being successfully performed in the framework of the Russian obligations and are completely in line with the initiative ‘Make-in-India.’