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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia set to participate in fighter tender for India

RIA Novosti

09/01/2007 16:39 LUKHOVITSY (Moscow Region), January 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is planning to join a tender on supplying fighters for the Indian Air Force, the defense minister said Tuesday.

India plans to buy 126 light fighters for its Air Force for about $4 billion.

"India will soon announce a tender for a large shipment of light fighters," said Sergei Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister. "Russia and the MiG Corporation will proactively participate in the tender."

Ivanov said the MiG Corporation would offer India its MiG-35 aircraft, and that he was planning to visit India in the near future to discuss the fighter deal with Indian officials.

The MiG-35, an export version of the MiG-29M OVT (Fulcrum F), a highly maneuverable air superiority fighter, was shown for the first time in August 2005 during the MAKS Air Show outside Moscow.

The fighter is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring control engines. The RD-33 OVT engines provide superior maneuverability and enhance the fighter's performance in close air-to-air engagements.

"The unique performance characteristics of this aircraft are based on the RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring control engines," said an official at the Klimov Design Bureau, which manufactures the engines.

The MIG Corporation earlier said it had proposed the MiG-29M single-seat and the MiG-29M2 twin-seat aircraft for the Indian Air Force's procurement order.

Russia's MiG-35 will compete with U.S., Swedish and French jet fighters in the Indian tender.

In early 2005, the U.S. administration approved the sale of the F-16 aircraft to Pakistan, thereby increasing the stakes for Mig-29M fighter sales to India, Pakistan's traditional foe.

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