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Russia to purchase 50 fifth-generation fighters from 2016

Sukhoi T-50 PAK FA during its maiden flight. Sukhoi Corporation press service Photo.

MOSCOW (BNS): Russian defence ministry is planning to purchase a total of 50 fifth-generation fighter aircraft from 2016.

According to a news report by the RIA Novosti, the Russian defence ministry would purchase the first six to 10 aircraft after 2012. The aircraft has completed the first stage of the tests on Thursday.

"The requirements we are setting on this aircraft are well above those for the US fifth-generation aircraft," Vladimir Popovkin, deputy defence minister for arms procurement, was quoted as saying.

He said the fighter will be superior to US analogs.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that, around $1 billion have already been spent on this project and Govt. would spend another $1 billion to complete it, after which the engine, weaponry and other components would be upgraded, as per the news report by the Russian news agency.

Vladimir Putin along with Vladimir Popovkin observed the test flight of the prototype fighter on Thursday. It was said to be the 16th test flight of the aircraft.

The Russian fifth-generation fighter aircraft will be three times as cheap as its foreign counterparts and have a service life of 30-35 years.

Russia's only known fifth-generation project is Sukhoi's PAK FA and the current prototype is the PAK FA T-50.

The aircraft is equipped with brand-new avionics suite integrating “electronic pilot” functionality, as well as advanced phased-array antenna radar. This significantly decreases pilot load and allows him to focus upon completion of tactical missions. New aircraft on-board equipment allows real-time data exchange not only with ground based control systems, but also within the flight group.

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.

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