08:15 GMT +3 hours30 April 2016
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Russian Air Force to buy over 60 fifth-generation fighters

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The Russian Air Force will receive more than 60 fifth-generation fighters from 2015-16, the force commander said on Tuesday.

The Russian Air Force will receive more than 60 fifth-generation fighters from 2015-16, the force commander said on Tuesday.

"The Air Force will start taking delivery [of fifth-generation fighters] in 2015-16. The preliminary number is over 60," Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said.

He also said the first batch of new fighters would be provided with older, "non-fifth" generation engines.

In mid-June Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin observed the 16th test flight of a prototype fighter.

Deputy Defense Minister for Arms Procurement Vladimir Popovkin said the Defense Ministry would purchase the first 6 to 10 aircraft after 2012, based on the outcome of initial tests. He said the fighter will be superior to similar U.S. models.

The prime minister said 30 billion rubles (around $1 billion) had already been spent on the project and another 30 billion would be required to complete it, after which the engine, weaponry and other components would be upgraded.

He said the fighter would have a service life of 30-35 years, if modernization and upgrades are factored in, and would be around three times cheaper than its foreign analogs

Russia's only known fifth-generation project is Sukhoi's PAK FA and the current prototype is the T-50. It is designed to compete with the U.S. F-22 Raptor, so far the world's only fifth-generation fighter, and the F-35 Lightning II.

Russia has been developing its newest fighter since the 1990s. The country's top military officials have said the stealth fighter jet with a range of up to 5,500 km should enter service with the Air Force in 2015.

The PAK FA is to be armed with next-generation air-to-air, air-to-surface, and air-to-ship missiles, and has two 30-mm cannons.

 

MOSCOW, July 13 (RIA Novosti)

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