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Russia begins test of fifth generation fighter aircraft

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An artist's rendition of an fifth generation fighter aircraft. A File Photo.

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia has started the tests of its futuristic fifth generation stealth fighter aircraft, a project in which India is also a partner, as it prepares to compete with America's latest F-22 Raptor.

The supersonic fifth generation PAK-FA T-50 with a range of 5,500 km is scheduled to enter service with the Russian Air Force in 2015. Ahead of the maiden flight scheduled for this month, first runway tests of the futuristic fighter were held in December, Interfax reported.

US's F-22 is the world's only fifth generation fighter aircraft. The FGFA is to compete with the US F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

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.

Earlier, Vice Premier Sergei Ivanov had said the tests would commence in December 2009-January 2010 and the Russian Air Force plans to induct the fighter beginning from 2015.

Under an agreement signed in October 2007, India has also joined Russia in the project based on Sukhoi's PAK FA project and the two nations are in negotiations to finalise the commercial contract for the deal.

At least three prototypes of FGFA have been made by the KNAAPO aircraft plant and several Indian teams have visited the facility in the country's Far East near the Chinese border, sources told PTI.

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