Sukhoi plans to begin Su-35 flight tests by end 2007

Flight tests of the multi-purpose super-manoeuvrable fighter, the Sukhoi Su-35, will begin by the end of the year, Sukhoi general director Michael Pogosyan has said. The fifth-generation fighter is to be Russia's answer to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning.

"The Su-35 is substantially developed on the basis of the technical decisions for creation of a fighter of the fifth generation," Pogosyan said. He added that the Su-35 would be Sukhoi's basic export product, along with its civilian regional aircraft, the Superjet-100.

Sukhoi plans to increase its civilian aircraft production by 35 per cent and it military aircraft production by 95 per cent this year. Military production and export will rise with the increasing deliveries of multi-purpose fighters of the Su-30 family, and the gradual promotion of the new Su-35 fighter in the world market.

The company is the largest Russian aircraft manufacturer, with nearly 28,000 employees. The Sukhoi group includes ACF Sukhoi, Sukhoi civil planes, the Komsomolsk-upon-Amur aviation production association named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and the Novosibirsk aviation production association named after legendary test pilot Valery Tchkalov.

In 2006, Sukhoi's net profit grew 50 times to Roubles1.587 billion ($62.35 million), while sales were up 1.6 times at Roubles10.7 billion ($420.4 million), from Roubles6.756 billion ($265.45 million).