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Aero India 2023

Russia's future fighter makes its maiden flight

The Russian Air Force will begin the induction of FGFA from 2015.

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia's fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), which is a joint project with India, Friday made a "succesful" maiden flight in the country's far east, boosting hopes that the stealth fighter may be ready for induction in the next five years.

"The 5th generation fighter made its maiden flight at Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The flight lasted about 45 minutes and was a success," Sukhoi Corporation's spokesperson Olga Kayukova told state-run 'Rossiya 24' TV.

Describing the flight as a textbook, she said, “All the expectations of the scientists were met.”

With the aircraft getting airborne, Russia is the second country in the world to produce a 5th generation fighter, which is 90 per cent made up of composite fibre.

Sukhoi's KNAAPO aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur is reported to have built three prototypes of FGFA with the technical name T-50 under its PAK FA project to rival US Lockheed F-22 Raptor and its newer version F-35.

Under an agreement signed in October 2007, India has also joined the FGFA project by taking a 50 per cent investment stake in the project. For the Indian Air Force, a lighter, two-seater version is to be developed to meet its specific requirements.

The Russian Air Force intends to begin the induction of FGFA from 2015. India is also expected to induct at least 250 combat jets, which would be manufactured by HAL - the nodal partner of Sukhoi in the project.

The Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has a 25 per cent share of design and development work in FGFA, with India contributing largely to composites, cockpit and avionics.

The Indian systems onboard would be mission computers, navigation systems, most of the cockpit displays, the counter measure dispensing. The Russian expertise in Titanium structures would be complimented by India's experience in composites for the new fighter.

The Indian version of the futuristic fighter will also have weapon of Indian origin including Astra, the beyond visual range missile being developed by the DRDO.

At the initial stages, 500 FGFA are to be developed with options kept open for both Russian and Indian Air Force.

While the Russian military has ordered 200 single seaters and 50 twin seaters, the IAF has projected 200 twin seaters and 50 single seaters.

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