labels: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, News reports, Defence general, Aerospace manufacturing, Indian Air Force
Russia-India fifth generation fighter aircraft to begin initial tests this year news
21 January 2009

Akhtubinsk: Russia appears to be speeding up the development process of the top-of-the-line fifth generation fighter aircraft, which it is jointly developing along with Indian aerospace and defence major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).  Russia's defence boss, Sergei Ivanov, also deputy premier of Russia, has "insisted" that testing of the fifth generation stealth fighter must begin in 2009 and commissioning take place by 2015.

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This effectively brings forward the development programme of this US F-22 Raptor competitor by at least a year. Earlier plans had 2010 as the target for initial tests of the new fighter.

"I insist that the testing start as early as 2009 and the fifth-generation fighter must enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2015," Sergei Ivanov said at a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission.

Ivanov also said Russia was "nearing the end of the development of the first prototype of the new fighter."

The advanced multi-role fighter, variously referred to as the T-50 PAK-FA and the FGFA or fifth generation fighter aircraft here in India , has been designed and developed by the Sukhoi design bureau, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), under a preliminary inter-governmental agreement signed in October 2007.

Russia and India are due to simultaneously develop two versions of the stealth, futuristic aircraft - a two-seat version in line with the requirements of India's air superiority doctrine and a single-seat version for the Russian Air Force.

Sukhoi had earlier said it had begun constructing a prototype of the fifth-generation fighter.

The fifth generation fighter is expected to feature high manoeuvrability and stealth in order to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets.

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

The Russian deputy premier also said Wednesday that the aerospace establishment should review and adjust its testing programmes and methods given the advanced nature of the new aircraft.

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Russia-India fifth generation fighter aircraft to begin initial tests this year