Before Signing the R&D lets the IAF Pilots fly in the T 50
Once again a wise decision made by the IAF, that they asked the Russians to allow the Indian Air force pilots to evaluate the T 50 before buying some off shelf units directly from Sukhoi and producing advanced variant of T 50 aka FGFA in India, Since the formal signing of joint production of FGFA in 2007, there is no real changes happens so far, India already spend some $300 millions for FGFA preliminary design works, however there is no clear works will not happen until both sign the billion dollar R&D agreement.
The Russians is almost cash trapped, they trying to use the Indians for it's need, once the new Government sworn in Delhi, IAF insists the govt to sign the FGFA R&D contract, and asks to sign the Rafale deal, although due to cost factors, government almost cancelled the Rafale deal, and further moving into the FGFA with Russia, at first i.e 2007, IAF asks some 250 fifth generation fighters that's 50:50 numbers of both Single seat Russian T 50 and improved FGFA produced by HAL India, the proposed FGFA fighter customized with some 60 minor and 15 other Major modifications, which include many Indian sub systems,
When the days passed, and the costs escalates, IAF cut off the procurement numbers by some four squadron of T 50 fighters and another set of 127 FGFA , the same once again downgraded into 67 T 50 airframes, when the IAF mulls the need of FGFA, Russian says it's hard to work on the 83 proposed changes requested by the Indian Air force, and thus takes nearly eight to ten years to roll out the FGFA, once the R&D contract signed, thus makes the IAF to rethink the strategy,and IAF knows the lesson that more you wait, more you betrayed, after days of discussions IAF gradually cut some 50% design changes in the FGFA, thus allows faster work and reduced cost.
With the new draft, The IAF proposes some 43 changes in the FGFA, and asks the Sukhoi and HAL team to roll out the first series of FGFA within three years once the R&D contract is finalized, Russia accepts the IAF proposal and asks the Indian side to move on with the contract, that's the R&D contract , the proposed Research and Development cost is some $6 billions,
What the IAF and HAL gets from the $6 billion R&D is complete evaluation of the T 50, It's process and systems, simply know how to develop a T 50 in your home, along with three fly away T 50 fighter Jets, Missiles and other weapons. the HAL and IAF gets complete information of Radar's, engines, and it's avionics suits etc etc, and The Russian Sukhoi engineers will come into HAL Facilities and help the HAL Engineers to modify the existing T 50 into more customized FGFA.
If IAF orders some FGFA units they have to pay the production costs, spare parts costs and others to HAL, and It's clear HAL surely import those items or at-least the raw materials from Russia only, means more money will directly go to Russia only, however the FGFA is Made in India, and built by the HAL Engineers.
Also because of the delay in FGFA program, IAF has a plan to induct some Russian made T 50 into the Air force, and so far they have no idea about the T 50's performance, earlier some of the HAL officials gets a brief by the Irkut Officials about the process of T 50, IAF has a new strategy that they need to evaluate any future fighter aircraft before buying, so before buying some T 50 units and going into the FGFA program IAF wants to evaluate the T 50 with it's own Fighter pilots, thus gives an clear idea about what IAF thinks and what exactly the T 50 is capable, if they were satisfied then only they will further move on the project, otherwise no FGFA or T 50,
The Russians continuously pushing the Indians to sign the FGFA R&D contract, however from earlier lesson IAF takes careful steps before getting involved, The Indian Prime minister due a visit to Moscow end of this year, and officially discuss about the FGFA program with Russian officials with the proposal of IAF's wish to fly in the T 50 fighter Air craft.
So far there is no issues reported in the T 50 program except a minor engine fire in one flying prototype, and It's believed T 50 is the best alternative compared to the most advanced American F 22 Raptor, along with some newer modern Systems, makes the T 50 is one of the most advanced fighter jets compared to the F 22 Raptor.