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Russia's contender for Indian fighter deal to stay grounded at Aero India

RIA Novosti

05:09 02/02/2011 NEW DELHI/MOSCOW, February 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's MiG-35 will not fly in the Aero India 2011 air show in Bangalore later this month, although its maker MiG maintains it is still a contender in a deal to supply 126 light fighter jets to the Indian air force.

"The aircraft will not fly," a MiG representative in Delhi told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Indian media reports claimed that the Indian air force had made an unofficial decision to delete the MiG-35 and Lockheed Martin F-16IN from the list of contenders. Russia's United Aircraft Corporation, the holding company that includes MiG, denied the aircraft was out of the running.

Six major aircraft makers — Lockheed and Boeing from the United States, Russia's MiG, France's Dassault, Sweden's Saab and Eurofighter, a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies — are officially in contention to win the $11 billion tender.T

The MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, is an export version of the MiG-29M OVT fighter, is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines. The RD-33 OVT engines provide superior maneuverability and enhance the fighter's performance in close air engagements.

India is expected to make a final choice in the tender in July this year.

Moscow earlier said if MiG-35 wins the tender, Russia is ready to transfer all key technology to India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and provide assistance for the production of the aircraft in the country.

Aero India-2011, which will be held in the southern city of Bangalore on February 9-13, is likely to attract a record number of leading manufacturers, vendors and suppliers from 63 countries.

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