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No JV with India on fifth-gen fighter: Sukhoi chief

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The prototype of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, T-50, undergoing flight trials in Russia. A file photo

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia’s Sukhoi Company has ruled out the possibility of signing a joint venture agreement with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the development and production of the PAK-FA fifth generation fighter aircraft.

"We don’t plan to sign a joint venture. We have agreed on joint work with our Indian colleagues,” Sukhoi head Mikhail Pogosyan was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

The General Director had earlier said that an additional agreement would be signed with India to specify its role in the project.

But on Friday, he said that the Russian company hoped work would begin soon without any such deal and that the joint work could be carried out under the current agreement.

“We will do our part of the work, our Indian counterparts theirs,” Pogosyan said, adding, “At the initial stage it is not necessary to have a joint venture.”

India is partnering with Russia for the joint development of the stealth fighter aircraft. The two countries had signed an intergovernmental agreement in 2007 as per which HAL was identified as the nodal agency in the project.

Sukhoi and HAL, in early 2010, formally agreed to jointly develop the stealth fighter aircraft.

Indian Air Force, which would acquire 50 single-seater fighters of the Russian version, would induct another 200 two-seater fighters beginning from 2016, according to reports.

The new aircraft, designed to fly at supersonic speeds, will compete with US’s F-22 Raptor fighters. The first prototype of the stealth fighter, T-50, is presently undergoing flight trials in Russia.

It is scheduled to enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2015.

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