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Russian combat aircraft makers fear competition with China

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Russian aircraft makers MiG and Sukhoi have spoken against the sale of RD-93 jet engines to China citing the threat of strong competition from cheaper Chinese models of fighter aircraft.

 Russian aircraft makers MiG and Sukhoi have spoken against the sale of RD-93 jet engines to China citing the threat of strong competition from cheaper Chinese models of fighter aircraft.

Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport planned to sign a contract with China on the delivery of 100 RD-93 engines for FC-1 fighters, which are direct competitors of the famed MiG-29 Fulcrum aircraft.

Mikhail Pogosyan, the head of the MiG and Sukhoi corporations, said the re-export of technologies must be approved by the original manufacturers to avoid unfair competition.

The FC-1 Xiaolong (Fierce Dragon) is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft developed jointly by China and Pakistan. It is designated as JF-17 Thunder by Pakistan.

A Russian aircraft industry source said the FC-1 is inferior to MiG-29 in performance, but sells for about $10 million, while the price of a MiG-29 is about $35 mln.

MiG-29s are currently competing with FC-1s in an Egyptian tender on the delivery of 32 fighters. In addition, Egypt has launched negotiations with Pakistan on the licensed production of FC-1 aircraft.

Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) approved the re-export of RD-93 engines to Egypt as part of the FC-1 fighter package in November 2007.

Rosoboronexport has said a decision to allow the re-export of technology could be made only by the government, and the manufacturers have never been consulted on the issue.

Russian weapons manufacturers are also facing increasing competition from China on other arms markets.

Russian S-300 and Chinese HQ-9 air defense systems have been competing in a Turkish tender since 2007.

Russian and Chinese armored personnel carriers competed in an Indonesian tender in 2007.

In 2009, Myanmar chose Russian Mig-29s over Chinese J-10s and FC-1s.

Russia has also accused China of producing its own copycat versions of some Russian-made weaponry, including the Su-27SK fighter jet, in violation of intellectual property agreements.

MOSCOW, July 5 (RIA Novosti)

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