India's air force chief has admitted the government expects to sign a contract to buy 40 Russian-built Sukhoi-30 fighter planes to bolster its air strike capability.
Each plane will cost an estimated 40 million dollars and a deal could be signed by the end of India's fiscal year in March 2007, air force chief S.P. Tyagi said in Bangalore. He valued the deal at 1.6 billion dollars.
The fighter jets would come over a three-year delivery schedule, Tyagi told reporters at the Aero Indian show in the southern hi-tech hub of Bangalore.
The air force also wanted to buy 80 heavy-lift helicopters and was negotiating the purchase of six transporters, he said. It also wanted to buy 126 multi-role fighter aircraft, a deal potentially worth nine billion dollars.
"There's a whole lot of hardware coming in," Tyagi said. "We are getting a lot of goodies."
India is modernising its armed forces in a program expected to cost tens of billions of dollars over several years to complement accelerating economic growth with military might.