MOSCOW, February 16 (RIA Novosti)
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Russian aircraft manufacturers must develop at least two competitive prototypes of a fifth-generation fighter jet, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Thursday.
“Two variants of the future fighter jet must be developed to encourage competition,” Rogozin said at a meeting with Russian lawmakers.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the future fighter must possess all technical characteristics of a fifth-generation fighter, including elements of stealth technology, supersonic cruising speed, highly-integrated avionics, electronics and fire-control systems.
The existing T-50 prototype, developed under the program PAK FA (Future Aviation System for Tactical Air Force) at the Sukhoi aircraft design bureau, made its maiden flight in Russia’s Far East in January 2010 and made its first public appearance at the MAKS-2011 air show near Moscow on August 17, 2011.
There are currently three fifth-generation T-50 fighters in tests, and a total number of 14 aircraft is planned for test flights by 2015.
The T-50 is expected to enter service in 2016 and gradually replace MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker fighter jets in the Russian Air Force.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).