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India, Russia to develop 2 versions of 5th-generation fighter

RIA Novosti

29/09/2008 15:03 NEW DELHI, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and India will jointly develop two versions of a new fifth-generation fighter, the head of an Indian defense company said on Monday.

A Russian-Indian advanced multirole fighter is being developed by Sukhoi, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under an intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007.

"The aircraft will have different wings, electronics and radars," HAL Chairman Ashok K. Baweja said after a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military technical cooperation in New Delhi.

He also said India will develop a two-seat version to meet the requirements of the Indian air superiority doctrine, while Russia will develop a single-seat fighter.

Russia's Sukhoi aircraft maker earlier said it had started the construction of a prototype of the fifth-generation fighter, which will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets.

The Russian version will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft-manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East.

Flight tests of the fifth-generation fighter will begin as early as 2009, and mass production of the aircraft may start by 2015, Sukhoi said.

Russia's military cooperation with India goes back nearly half a century, and the country accounts for about 40% of Russian arms exports.

Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission sessions are held annually and alternate between New Delhi and Moscow. The previous meeting took place in the Russian capital in October 2007.

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