India, France May Sign 36 Rafale Fighters Deal Next Week

Rafale fighter jet aircraft, manufactured by Dassault Aviation SA.


New Delhi and Paris could sign a contract to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets as early as next week, The Times of India reported on Friday, citing defense sources.

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — According to the newspaper, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will arrive in New Delhi on Tuesday to sign an intergovernmental agreement on the Rafale deal, which could be followed by the signing of a commercial contract.In April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande agreed to supply the Indian Air Force with 36 French-built Rafale fighters.

The contract is still at the discussion stage, with the negotiating committee considering the 50 percent offset requirements, as well as the arms and equipment the fighters will be fitted with, The Times of India reported.

According to the newspaper, the delivery of the first aircraft to India will take place about two years after the contact is signed.

India and France have been negotiating the deal for over three years, during which time the deal’s budget has almost doubled.The initial price quoted to India for each of the 36 Rafale aircraft was 25 percent higher than the $200-million price tag offered to the Indian prime minister during his April visit to France.

The Rafale is a French fourth generation multirole twin-engine fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation.

Irkut Corporation demonstrates Yak-130 jet fitted with laser rangefinder at MAKS-2015 airshow for the first time ever



Irkut Corporation (part of United Aircraft Corporation) demonstrates Yak-130 operational trainer fitted with laser rangefinder at the static display of MAKS-2015 international airshow for the first time ever. The rangefinder is intended for visual identification of ground and surface targets by the crew, and measurement of slant distance to them, the corporation reported.

“Yak-130 (tail number 01) was upgraded by Yakovlev design bureau (part of Irkut Corporation) in accordance with the requirements of foreign customers; the upgrade is focused on increasing the jet’s combat effectiveness (Yak-130 may be used as a light attack aircraft). The laser rangefinder allows operating Yak-130 jets in mountainous regions with ravines, improves the accuracy in the area of target location and usage of weapons,” Irkut Corporation noted.

Air-launched variant of Russian-Indian BrahMos missile to undergo flight tests next March


ZHUKOVSKY /Moscow region/, August 27 /TASS/. The test trials of an air-launched variant of the BrahMos cruise missile are due to begin in March 2016, Sudhir Kumar Mishra, director-general of the BrahMos Aerospace Company, told TASS at the MAKS-2015 Air Show.

“We have modified a Su-30MKI fighter jet for the installation of a BrahMos cruise missile. The launching pad, which is currently undergoing qualification tests, has also been modified,” Mishra said.

According to the company’s director-general, the qualification tests are to be over by December 2015. The launching pad and the missiles will then undergo flight tests on the Su-30MKI jet.

He said the program had been fulfilled by 90%.

Meanwhile, Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace has received an order for delivery of two regimental sets of BrahMos cruise missiles for Indian ground troops, Sudhir Kumar Mishra went on to say.

We have received an order for delivery of two regimental sets of BrahMos cruise missiles for the Indian ground forces, Mishra told TASS at the MAKS-2015 Air Show. He added that other branches of Indian Armed Forces were planning to commission BrahMos cruise missiles in the next two months.

Mishra said that the Indian Armed Forces had already commissioned the missiles for five of its squadrons and that more than ten Indian warships had been equipped or were being equipped with adapted modifications of BrahMos missiles.

Mishra also noted that government organizations in Russia and India had invested about $3 billion in a joint venture whose cost had risen to $7 billion by now.

Iran may buy at least two types of aircraft in Russia — vice president


MOSCOW, August 28. /TASS/. Iran may sign an agreement with Russia on buying at least two types of military aircraft, Iranian Vice President Sorena Sattari said in an interview with the Moscow-based Kommersant Daily upon the end of a visit to Moscow, in the course of which he attended the MAKS’2015 international aerospace show underway here.

“Intensive talks in that sphere are in progress now but they are conducted by our defense ministries, which in fact should make all the comments on them,” Dr. Sattari said. “The only thing I can say is we might sign a contract for two types of jets. The talks on the issue are making good progress.” As he mentioned the talks on supplies of S-300 antiaircraft missile launchers to Iran, he said he did not know details of the agreement, since these negotiations lay in the sphere of responsibility of the defense ministries.

“Talks with the Russian side on the S-300 missiles are proceeding in due course but I didn’t discuss the issue with any of the Russian officials at my meetings here,” Dr. Sattari said.

The theme of cooperation in defense-related technologies with Russia makes the Iranians feel somewhat nostalgic, he said.

“The closest ties in the defense sphere, and especially in aviation, started emerging between our countries slightly more than 20 years ago,” Dr. Sattari said. “My father was the commander of the Iranian Air Force then. We managed to make first purchases of Russian jets then after the end of the war (with Iraq TASS) and our Air Force that had been operating Western aircraft previously changed over successfully to the jets of eastern manufacture, the MIG-29’s and the Su-24’s.”

“It was also then that we obtained the S-200 complexes,” he continued. “Somewhat later, we launched the manufacturing of technologies and weaponry at home.”

“Today we make the missiles and even missile systems resembling the S-300 but they are based on our Iranian technologies,” Dr. Sattari said.

Sukhoi Superjet 100

Iranian airlines are showing interest towards the Russian airliner Sukhoi Superjet 100 and they could consider purchases of these jets, Iran’s Vice President said in an interview.

“The main thing for our airlines is to get convinced they can use the jets of this type,” Dr. Sattari said. “The problem is we have a very specific climate. We must ensure that the jets function normally as they gain altitude and then perform the flights in spite of existing complexities.”

“Unfortunately, not all the airliners are suitable for this,” he said.

“One of our airlines has already tested the SSJ and the result was reassuring,” Dr. Sattari added. “If Russia offers lucrative financial terms to us then I think many of our airlines will be ready to take the jets.”.

Cooperation with Russia in the sphere of space exploration

Iran is interested in cooperation with Russia in the sphere of space exploration, the country’s Vice President said.

“Russia doesn’t have competitors in many areas of space research and it sets the tune there,” Dr. Sattari said. “I mean the Russian launch vehicles, among other things. We’re ready to launch our satellite into orbit with Russia’s assistance and by Russian launch vehicles.”

“It’s important to do this in the framework of joint projects,” he said. “I mean the joint designing and construction of satellites, as well as cooperation in the designing of space rockets.”

“Outer space is a huge area for collaboration,” Dr. Sattari indicated. “We, too, joined that club (of space powers TASS) recently and we have launch vehicles of our own. But still no one can compete with the technologies available to Russia.”.

Cooperation in science and technologies

The setting-up of a Russian-Iranian high-level commission for cooperation in science and technologies will make it possible to step up practical collaboration in the sphere, Sorena Sattari told Kommersant Daily.

The decision on setting up the commission was taken on Wednesday at the end Dr. Sattari’s meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

“Our relations with Russia in science and technologies are reaching an unprecedented level and our Russian friends are giving important assistance to us,” Dr. Sattari said. “And we hope that the new Commission will make it possible for us to intensify cooperation and exchange in science and technologies further.”

“Russia has perfect technologies,” he said. “This concerns the aerospace industry, for instance. Russia doesn’t have competitors in many areas and partly this can be explained for by the difference of the Russian approach to designing the aircraft and to the aircraft manufacturing industry on the whole as compared to the Western way of thinking.”

“A visit to the MAKS airshow furnished our experts with an opportunity to get familiarized closer with the Russian approach and with this country’s capabilities,” Dr. Sattari said.

Along with it, he called attention to a rather feeble rate at which relations between Russia and Iran in the sphere of science and education have been developing so far.

“Only 400 or so students from Iran are getting education in Russia – a figure that’s too small considering our historical relations and the fact we’re neighbors,” Dr. Sattari said. “Just compare it with the 12,000 students getting tuition in the US, a country which we don’t have whatever relations with.”

“I just don’t understand why we haven’t managed to bring our cooperation to the same level as a minimum in the past,” he said.

In this connection, he mentioned his visit to Moscow Lomonosov State University where he had signed a package of memoranda on cooperation.

“I hope the move will help raise our cooperation with Russia in this sphere to a new level,” Dr. Sattari said.

Moscow, Tehran Sign Roadmap For S-300 Deal Implementation

A Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system is on display in an undisclosed location in Russia


A memorandum on the implementation of the agreement to supply Russian S-300 missile defense systems to Iran was signed, according to a senior official from the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation.

  Russia and Iran have signed this week a memorandum on the implementation of the agreement for the delivery of the Russian S-300 missile defense systems to Iran, a senior official from the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said Thursday.

“This week, a memorandum on the implementation of the agreement to supply Russian S-300 missile defense systems to Iran has been signed. It is a kind of a ‘roadmap,'” the official told RIA Novosti.

He added that the memorandum does not specify a specific time frame, the number of systems to be delivered or prices.In 2007, Russia and Iran signed an $800-million deal for the delivery of five S-300 battalions. Moscow suspended the deal after the UN Security Council issued an arms embargo on Tehran amid suspicions that it was creating a nuclear weapon.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted the ban on S-300 deliveries in April, shortly after the P5+1 group of international negotiators and Iran reached a framework nuclear agreement to remove all economic sanctions against Tehran in exchange for its pledge to cut back uranium enrichment and the number of centrifuges in the country.

Russia to deliver Tor-M2K missile launchers to Belarus



According to Rosoboronexport’s General Director Anatoly Isaykin, the delivery of these launchers will significantly boost air defense capability of Belarus and the Russia-Belarus Union State in general.

“The delivery is scheduled for 2016,” Isaykin told reporters at the MAKS-2015 air show.

Tor-M is an advanced short-range surface-to-air missile system, designed to defend key military and civilian facilities from attacks by aircraft, cruise and guided missiles, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles.

Egypt Emerges as Front-Runner in Mistral Warship Sweepstakes

Second Mistral helicopter carrier floated out in France


Speculation swelled surrounding potential buyers for the orphaned carriers following an announcement that Paris and Moscow had reached an agreement to terminate the contract.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Several countries have expressed interest, with Egypt leading the pack, in the purchase of two French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers after Paris reneged on their original deal to deliver the vessels to Russia.France and Russia terminated a 2011 contract for the construction and delivery of two Mistral warships worth 1.2 billion euro ($1.35 billion) earlier in August.

Speculation swelled surrounding potential buyers for the orphaned carriers following an announcement that Paris and Moscow had reached an agreement to terminate the contract.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the refund would not amount to the initial contract’s cost. Finance Minister Michel Sapin later assessed the compensation at below 1 billion euros.

Egypt ‘Serious Option’ 

Egypt and Saudi Arabia have expressed immediate interested in purchasing the two Mistral warships. A French diplomatic source suggested to local media that the two countries would “do anything” to purchase the vessels.

The Wall Street Journal cited French officials saying on Wednesday that Cairo was in talks with Paris to buy the ships.

One of the officials said Egypt was “among the serious options” under consideration.

Egypt agreed to buy 24 Rafale fighter aircraft from France for an estimated $5.7 billion earlier this year.

The jets and warships are thought to be the first step toward building a joint Arab military force, announced at the 26th summit of Arab leaders in March. Egypt and Saudi Arabia agreed to cooperate on defense and the economy two months ago.

One of a Handful

French Sen. Helene Conway-Mouret told Sputnik earlier this month Egypt was one of a handful of countries expressing interest in buying the helicopter carriers.

Conway-Mouret listed Canada and Singapore, along with Saudi Arabia, as interested, and said more countries could come forth.Media reports speculated earlier this week that Defense Minister Le Drian was expected to discuss the possible sale of Mistrals to Malaysia during his state visit on Sunday.

Le Drian is set to visit India, another country that has expressed interested in the helicopter carriers, on his way back from Malaysia to sign a contract for the supply of 36 Rafale fighters.

According to the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT), a Russian think tank specializing in weapon sales, France has attempted to take advantage of the canceled Mistral deal with Russia by creating an artificial hype around potential buyers for the warships.

Paris will have to make serious efforts to find a new buyer, as it will take lengthy and complex negotiations on various issues, including price and readjustment of the ships for new owners, the CAWAT spokesman told RIA Novosti.The Mistral deal was suspended by Paris in November 2014 as the crisis in Ukraine escalated.

France, among a number of Western countries, blamed Russia for fueling conflict in southeastern Ukraine, a claim Moscow has firmly denied.

French lawmakers are due to review the Mistral termination agreement, and announce the exact Russian reimbursement sum, when they return from parliamentary vacation in mid-September.