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India, Russia sign design contract for fifth generation fighter

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The Sukhoi PAK FA fighter during a flight test. A file photo.

NEW DELHI (BNS): India and Russia Tuesday signed a significant contract to jointly develop a design for a new fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft.

The agreement was signed between India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's current visit to India, according to a RIA Novosti news report.

The cost of preliminary design is estimated at $295 million. The costs will be shared equally between India and Russia, the report added. The aircraft jointly developed by India and Russia could be completed by 2015-2016.

The interiors of the new aircraft will be have a two-seater cockpit and advanced avionics.

The aircraft will be based on Russia's T-50 prototype fifth-generation fighter.

It has already been subjected to several test flights and should enter into service with the Russian Air Force in 2015 while India is expecting the new fighter aircraft to enter service with its air force by 2020.

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