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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to test fifth-generation fighter in 2009

RIA Novosti

06/12/2007 16:52 LANGKAWI, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - Flight tests of a fifth-generation Russian-Indian fighter will begin as early as 2009 and mass production of the aircraft may start by 2015, the Sukhoi aircraft maker said Wednesday.

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

"At present we are building prototypes of the fifth-generation fighter and will soon start preparation for flight-testing, which is planned for 2009," Sukhoi CEO Mikhail Pogosyan announced at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) 2007 exhibition in Malaysia.

Pogosyan said mass production of the future fighter could begin by 2015.

The new fighter aircraft, which will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets, will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft-manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East.

Discussing the future implementation of the Russian-Indian project, Pogosyan said joint efforts should be focused on three areas: coordination of technical specifications, application of advanced technologies, and preparation of a legal framework for future cooperation.

"We have conducted preliminary discussions on these issues and now we have to work out a detailed program for the implementation of the [fifth-generation fighter] project," the official said.

India and Russia have a long history of military cooperation, going 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.

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