MOSCOW: India and Russia are likely to sign a contract soon on sale of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence system, a senior Russian official said, describing discussions on the deal to be at a "very profound stage".
Presently discussions are going on the exact number of S 400 Triumf air defence systems that will be bought by India, according to Viktor N Kladov, director for international cooperation and regional policy of Rostec, a state-owned Russian defence and industrial group.
Asked when will the contract be signed, Kladov said, "As soon as they prepare the contract it will be signed...I cannot give you the time as I don't know but anytime in future because the two teams are working very hard".
"It is being discussed and it is still at a very profound stage. Technical details are being discussed. The two teams are working very hard on negotiations. It is a very sophisticated system, lots of technical details are to be looked into.
"It also includes pricing, training, transfer of technologies, setting up of command and control centers. Even if we supply it now you can't use it as it will take two years to train your personnel only then you can use it," Kladov told PTI.
India had announced in October last year a deal on the Triumf air defence systems from Russia, worth over USD 5 billion and collaborate in making four state-of-the-art frigates besides setting up a joint production facility for making Kamov helicopters.
The deals were announced following talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit held in Goa last year.
The S-400 Triumf long-range air defence missile system has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.
India and Russia have been in talks for over a year for the purchase of at least five systems of S-400 that will be a game changer in the region. It is capable of firing three types of missiles, creating a layered defence, and simultaneously engaging 36 targets.
While talking about the India-Russia joint venture contract for production of 200 Kamov 226T helicopters for the Indian armed forces, Kladov said he is hopeful that Russia would start supplying helicopters by the end of 2018, if the contract is signed in the beginning of 2018.
"I hope you (India) start receiving the first batch of helicopters by the end of 2018, if the contract is signed in January-February of 2018. But if the contract is signed at the end of 2018, then you will receive it in 2019. People are asking us when the contract will be signed but it is no longer our business, it is the business of the joint venture team. It is the joint venture team which is looking into it, which is largely controlled by the Indian side," Kladov said.
CEO of Russian Helicopters Andrey Boginisky earlier this month had said the contract for 200 KAMOV 226T is expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2018.
Kladov also said that Rostec will participate in the tender exercise of 111 helicopters for the Indian navy and is "hopeful" of winning it.
While speaking on the civil helicopter sector in India, Kladov said the Indian civil helicopter market "is underestimated even as the demand is huge...We have several helicopters to offer for the civil helicopter sector".
He said Russia will start producing MI-17A2 civil helicopters next year and will target the Indian civil helicopter market.
Kladov said Russia is willing to cooperate with India in order to develop single engine fighter aircraft with India.
"Russia don't produce single engine fighter aircraft. We have only twin engine aircraft to offer. But if India chooses to develop its own aircraft and if India is looking for an international cooperation to design such an aircraft we are willing to cooperate," he said.
Kladov said the strategy of Rostec is to achieve 50:50 by 2025 in terms of military:civil cooperation with India.
"Presently the share of military-civil cooperation with India is 70:30 but by 2025 we plan to achieve 50:50 in military: civil cooperation," he said.