‘Russia’s next-generation warplane to fly this year’

January 22nd, 2009 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Astrakhan (Russia), Jan 22 (RIA Novosti) Russia’s first fifth-generation warplane, being developed in collaboration with India, will make its maiden flight before the end of this year, the deputy prime minister in charge of arms procurement has said.”We expect the plane to take to the skies no later than the end of this year,” Sergei Ivanov told a news conference after a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission.

Earlier, plans were set for 2010 for the first tests of the new fighter, which will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets.

Russia’s 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 a preliminary intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2007.

Russia and India will simultaneously develop two versions of the combat aircraft - a two-seat version to meet the requirements of India’s air superiority doctrine, and a single-seat version for the Russian Air Force.

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

Ivanov said the plant had almost completed the construction of a first prototype of the fifth-generation fighter, but it will undergo only durability tests on the ground at a research facility in Zhukovsky near Moscow.

However, a second prototype will be built and will take to the skies by the end of this year, he said.

Ivanov also said Wednesday that the aircraft manufacturing industry should review and adjust some testing programs and methods due to advanced nature of the new aircraft.

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