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Russia's 5th gen fighters will be superior to US': Putin

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

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia's fifth generation fighter aircraft will be ‘cheaper and superior’ to the American version, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is understood to have told India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma during a meeting here.

Russia's Sukhoi Corporation is developing the fifth generation fighter in partnership with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to compete with the US F-22 Raptor, so far the world’s only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35 Lightning II.

Sharma, who at the end of his three-day Russia visit had a 75-minute meeting at Putin's countryside residence Novo-Ogoryovo on Saturday, conceded that defence projects were discussed with Putin, but declined to speak on the subject.

During parleys with Sharma, Putin was also assisted by Deputy Industry Minister Denis Manturov, who looks after defence projects with India.

Their meeting took place just two days after Putin's visit to the nearby Zhukovski base to watch the flight trials of the FGFA prototype T-50, developed by the fighters division of Sukhoi Corporation.

After watching the test flight, Putin had said the fighter will be superior to similar US aircraft, as the late start of the project proved a “boon in disguise” and its specifications would be better and it would come about three times cheaper.

“The requirements we are setting for this plane are well above those for the US fifth-generation aircraft and it would be 2.5-3 times cheaper,” Putin had said in his televised remarks.

Russia has already spent around $ 1 billion on the project and another billion dollars would be required to complete it, after which the engine, weaponry and other components would be upgraded.

Russian Air Force is expected order at least 50 fifth-generation fighters from 2016. India is expected to have a mix of single seater fighters originally designed for Russia and an exclusively designed lighter, two-seater version for the Indian Air Force. The fighter will have a service life of 30-35 years.


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