RUSSIA AND INDIA are on the brink of clinching a $3.5 billion arms deal believed to cover the sale of Sukhoi Su-27 Flankers, technology transfer and licence manufacture of the Su-30MK, and the modernisation of the Indian air force's Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbeds.

Stanislav Filin, deputy director-general of Rosvoorouzheniye, the state arms-export company claims, that the deal will be concluded by 15 March. Acquisition of the Smerch and Uragan surface-to-surface rocket launchers are also understood to be part of the package.

The much-mooted sale of the Admiral Gorshkov Kiev-class carrier is not included, although negotiations continue. A decision is likely to be announced in April, when Adm Felix Gromov, Russia's naval chief, visits India. Filin says that the sale will be possible only with the approval of the navy.

Source: Flight International