Ukraine is close to signing one of it’s biggest ever defense deals for air-to-air missiles with India.
The deal for R-27 air-to-air missiles is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, is in the final stages and is waiting for approval from the Ukrainian leadership.
The Vympel R-27 (AA-10 Alamo) missile is a medium-to-long-range air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union. It is similar to the U.S. AIM-7 Sparrow.
The missile comes in infrared-homing (R-27T), semi-active-radar-homing (R-27R), and active-radar-homing (R-27AE) versions. It would be fitted on India’s MiG-29, Su-27 and Su-30 MKI fighter jets.
Both India and Ukraine are sensitive to Russian concerns over the missile deal and want to make sure that it would not irritate ties with Moscow.
Tensions between Kiev and Moscow could arise later because if the deal is successful, India may want to buy other related weapons from Ukraine, thus allowing Ukraine to enter a multi-billion dollar market like India which is dominated by Russia.
Some industry experts believe Moscow would not oppose the deal as the Ukrainian company is the only manufacturer of these missiles and a few components of the R-27 missile are supplied by a Russian firm.
The R-27 is a missile designed by Vympel, a Russian missile design bureau, in the 1980’s. Vympel is now part of Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corporation, which now produces successor weapons to the state-of-the-art R-27 missile.
Ukrainian R-27’s displayed by the Artem and Arsenal companies at the Moscow air show in 2011 featured what the makers claimed were upgraded seekers. Arsenal said it had developed a new infra-red seeker for the R-27 extending it’s detection range from 18 km to 30 km.
New Delhi showed keen interest at the recent DEFEXPO-2012 arms show.New Delhi was interested in Ukrainian anti-tank missiles and new engines for Mi-family helicopters.