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Russo-Indian 5th-gen fighter to commence flight tests in January news
04 January 2010

Moscow: Russia has started initial tests of its futuristic fifth generation stealth fighter jet, dubbed the PAK-FA programme, which it is partnering with India. The PAK-FA, or the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme, as it is referred to in India, hopes to match, or outperform, the American F-22 Raptor.

PAK-FA concept drawing
The F-22 Raptor, which is an air superiority fighter, is the worlds only existing fifth generation fighter aircraft programme. A related, fifth generation ground attack version, the F-35 Lightning II, is currently under development.

An Interfax report, without specifying details of time, said that the first prototype of the FGFA rolled out on the runway of KNAAPO aircraft plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the country's Far East. The test pilot switched on its engines and made two runs on the airstrip, during which breaks were applied several times.

The PAK-FA will make several more taxi runs before making its first flight in January 2010.

Under an agreement signed in October 2007, India is partnering the Russians on the programme and is developing its own two-seater derivative. The Russian version is a single-seater.

According to sources, at least three prototypes of the PAK-FA aircraft have been constructed at the KNAAPO aircraft plant, and several Indian teams have visited the facility.

Russia's deputy defence minister, Vladimir Popovkin, had announced in mid-September 2009, that the PAK FA, also known as the T-50, was scheduled to enter service with the Russian Air Force from 2015.

The Russian Air Force will commence taking delivery of the PAK-FA only after taking full delivery of 48 4++ generation Su-35 fighters. The first of these long-range strike aircraft will enter service in 2011, with full deliveries completed by 2015.

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Russo-Indian 5th-gen fighter to commence flight tests in January