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Russia, India to develop new fighter jet -defense minister

RIA Novosti

23/01/2007 14:56

BANGALORE/INDIA, January 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and India will jointly develop a project to build a fifth-generation fighter jet, the Russian defense minister said Tuesday.

Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, is currently leading a Russian delegation in India.

"The government of India has voiced its intention to participate in the project," he said, adding that the issue will be discussed during President Vladimir Putin's visit to the South Asian nation, scheduled for January 25-26.

Ivanov said the new multi-role fighter, which is being designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, will take to the skies not later than in 2009.

The minister also said Russia and India will sign an agreement enabling the latter to manufacture RD-33 engines under a Russian license.

"We are close to concluding a licensing agreement to produce Russian-designed RD-33 engines in India," he said.

RD-33 OVT OVT thrust vectoring control engines power the MiG-35, an export version of the MiG-29M OVT (Fulcrum F), a highly maneuverable air superiority fighter first shown in August 2005 at the MAKS Air Show outside Moscow.

Russian aircraft manufacturer MiG said Monday it hopes to win a tender to supply MiG-35s for the Indian Air Force.

India and Russia have a long history of military cooperation, which goes back almost half a century. The existing Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation program, which lasts until 2010, lists up to 200 projects worth about $18 billion in all, according to Russia's defense ministry.

Notable deals in recent years have included a contract for the modernization and sale of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, and deals for Sukhoi fighters and the T-90 battle tank.

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