A series of arms deals were signed during Russian president Vladimir Putin's visit to India last week, including an aircraft carrier, fighters and possibly bombers.

The most significant part of the package is the sale of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier and 46 RSK MiG-29K fighters to form its air group. Though the carrier will be sold as scrap for $300,000-$400,000, its modernisation in Russian shipyards as well as development and delivery of the navalised MiG-29K will push the contract price to $1.8 billion. The MiG-29K contract will be signed by RSK MIG and the Indian ministry of defence.

The long-awaited license production agreement for Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighters also received approval during the visit, but finalisation of the contract will need additional time. When it finally gets underway, the deal will cover the production by Hindustan Aeronautics of around 140 aircraft at the rate of eight a year.

Russia's business daily, Vedomosti, reports that Moscow is trying to link this deal with another contract for delivery of a third batch of 50 Su-30s assembled in Russia, in addition to contracts for 50 aircraft already signed. However, India is reluctant to commit itself to the link.

The Times of India reports that four Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire bombers are included in the deal. Previous Indian attempts to acquire the long-range nuclear capable supersonic bomber have been thwarted.

Source: Flight International