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Russian firms competing for FGFA engine development contract

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An artist's rendition of a fifth generation fighter aircraft.

MOSCOW (PTI): Three Russian firms are in race to develop advanced engine for the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) to be jointly produced by India and Russia.

The 'block 2' engine would be developed in five-six years and the preliminary R&D is being carried out by Moscow-based NPO Saturn, Salyut and St Petersburg-based Klimov Plant, specialising on the fighter aircraft engines.

"The winner of the tender will have to provide the engine for 'putting under the wing' after 5-6 years," Managing Director of NPO Saturn Ilya Fyodorov was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

The twin-stick two seater version of the futuristic multi-role fighter jet for the Indian Air Force (IAF) would be developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and 'sukhoi' Corporation, which is part of the Russian integrated aircraft manufacturer UAC on the parity basis.

The T-50 technology demonstrator developed by Sukhoi Corporation made its maiden flight on January 29 and the standard flight tests programme of its three prototypes lasting couple of years are underway.

Six test flights have been made so far and would take about 2 thousand trial flights before commissioning the much awaited fighter to match US F-22 Raptor and its lighter export version F-35, Sukhoi said.

Although the airframe of the fighter would be of the Russian design, it would be further developed with the contribution of Indian experts and engineers, who would provide composite materials for the hull and 'artificial intellect' for the FGFA.

According to sources, Russia would begin the induction of single seater fighter beginning from 2015, while the twin seater jet designed exclusively for the IAF is expected to be inducted from 2017 onwards.

The cost of the project would be around USD 8-10 billion and would be shared by India and Russia on parity basis, according to the reports.

The aircraft would carry a price tag of USD 85-100 million and would be available in the global market after India and Russia meet their initial requirements.

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