Russia would soon sign a contract with India to jointly develop and produce a fifth-generation combat jet from next year, the director general of Russian aircraft maker Sukhoi said here /br /”We plan to begin flight tests (of the fighter) as early as in 2009,” Mikhail Pogosyan told /br /The Russian-Indian advanced multi-role fighter is being developed by Sukhoi, which is part of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), along with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), under a inter-governmental agreement signed in Oct /br /Russia and India will simultaneously develop two versions of the combat aircraft – a two-seat version to meet the requirements of India’s air superiority policy, and a single-seat version for the Russian Air /br /Pogosyan is in Beijing as part of a delegation accompanying Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who is leading the Russian side at the 13th Russian-Chinese Commission on Military and Technical /br /Pgosyan told reporters that Russia and China are also set to boost cooperation in combat aircraft /br /”China is one of the main customers for our (Russian) aircraft and today the Chinese Air Force has in service over 200 of our Su-27 Flanker and Su-30 Flanker-C jet fighters,” he /br /The commission is set to discuss further cooperation in aircraft production and particularly the licensed production of Su-27 and Su-30 planes in /br /China has acquired 76 Su-27SK fighters from Russia since 1992, and bought a license for production of another 200 planes in 1995, in a deal worth $2.5 /br /However, the 1995 agreement did not include the transfer of avionics and AL-31F turbofan engine technology, and the Chinese manufacturers had to rely on the Russian supply of these systems.

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