Brazil is going to participate in the programme to develop an advanced combat plane, the PAK-FA T-50, that will be built by the Russian Sukhoi firm. The aircraft, invisible to radar, promises to equal or exceed in performance the F-22 Raptor fighter produced in the United States (the most expensive in the world at a unit cost of 225m dollars) and should make its first flight within two years at /br /Construction of the new aircraft is only part of a wide-ranging memorandum of understanding negotiated in Moscow in February and signed yesterday by Minister of Strategic Affairs Mangabeira Unger and the secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Valentin Alekseevitch. The framework agreement marks the start of extensive cooperation between the two countries, including that on technologies considered sensitive. Called for in the space field is construction of a new launch vehicle for communication and remote sensing satellites. Use of he Alcantara Airspace Base by a new binational firm is also contemplated in the /br /While discussing the PAK-FA, Mangabeira emphasized that it would be “a fifth-generation fighter.” Total cost is estimated at about 20bn dollars to be divided among Russia, Brazil, and India, which will also participate in the programme. The unit price, lower than that of fourth-generation European fighters, will be approximately 80m /br /In addition to being invisible to radar, the fifth-generation combat planes will be capable of reaching supersonic speed using half the engine’s power, a capability that reduces fuel expense, increases range, and reduces enemy engagement time. Currently, only the Americans have aircraft with those characteristics – the F-22 Raptors – in operation. A cheaper model, the F-35 Lightning, which costs 135m dollars, is in the certification phase. Minister of Defence Nelson Jobim was able to watch a demonstration of that fighter during his visit to the United States, but the aircraft was ruled out because no technology transfer was offered with /br /”We are interested not in buying finished goods but in partnerships that can strengthen the technological capability of both,” the minister said. Besides Russia, China and Japan are also working on fifth-generation aircraft, but the PAK-FA project, which began 10 years ago, is the one currently at the most advanced /br /Satellite Launch Vehiclebr /br /Russia is already cooperating with Brazil in the space field. A group of experts is in Sao Jose dos Campos acting as advisers on the Satellite Launch Vehicle (VLS) programme. The Russians are participating in the design of a new first stage, using liquid rather than solid fuel, for the rocket, which has accumulated a series of failures since the first launch attempt in 1997. Our country also has technology transfer programmes with Ukraine in connection with the production of rockets and with France, which intends to produce medium-size helicopters in Minas Gerais and submarines in Rio de /br /Source: a href=””RedOrbit/a

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