PUTIN WATCHES EXHIBITION FLIGHTS IN INDIA

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BANGALORE (India), December 5 (RIA Novosti) - Vladimir Putin attended an air show on Sunday in the course of his official visit to India.

The Russian President was shown two aircraft and a helicopter manufactured by the Indian Aircraft-Manufacturing Corporation. Mr. Putin got acquainted with a middle-class trainer, designed in 2001, and a light combat fighter.

Vladimir Putin was also shown the first SU fighter assembled in India under Russian license. Mr. Putin's spouse, Lyudmila Putin, joined him at the end of the show. They spoke with officials from the Karnataka state and representatives of the HAL company.

The Indian Aircraft-Manufacturing Corporation was formed in 1964 as a result of a merger of three largest national aircraft manufactures - Hindustan Aircraft Limited, Aeronautics India Limited and Aircraft Manufacturing Depot. Today, the Corporation includes 16 enterprises and 9 design centers.

The major activities of the Corporation include the development, manufacture, technical maintenance and modernization of fighters, civil aircraft, helicopters, engines, on-board systems, avionics, communication and navigation systems, airfield equipment and spacecraft, and the assembly of aircraft engines.

A Russian-Indian joint venture Indo-Russian Aviation Limited (IRAL) has been formed in its framework.

The cooperation with Russian aircraft manufacturers started in 1962 with the signing of the intergovernmental agreement on licensed manufacture of MiG-21 fighters, engines and avionics for them in India. Until 1990s, the corporation manufactured various modifications of the MiG-21 fighter and the MiG-27M fighter-bomber under Russian licenses. The cooperation continued with joint participation in the modernization of the MiG-21BIS fighter and equipping them with advanced avionics systems - the Kopye and the Karat radars.

In the near future, according to 2000 Russian-Indian contract, the Indian Corporation plans to start the assembly of 140 SU-30MKI fighters, and AL-31F by-pass turbojet engines for them at the aircraft manufacturing plant in Nasik. Another large project will be the supply of the Al-55 engines designed by the Russian research-and-manufacturing association Salut for Indian-designed HJT-36 trainers. Salut and HAL also have another promising contract on the sales of the AL-31 engines for modernizing the MiG-27 fighter-bombers.

Another issue on the agenda is the joint program for creation of a civil aircraft carrying 100 passengers on the basis of the IL-214 plane and its cargo version - the IL-214T. The delay in the program is caused by the fact that the Indian government, which announced its desire to by 50 planes for national Air Force, is still waiting for the approval of the deal on the part of the Russian government

Other areas of the future cooperation include joint development of UAVs and participation in the Russian-Indian program on the development of the 5th-generation fighter.

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