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    Fifth-generation fighter enters new stage - Sukhoi official

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    ZHUKOVSKY(Moscow region), August 16 (RIA Novosti) - The development of a fifth-generation fighter has entered an advanced stage, a Sukhoi corporation official told a news conference Tuesday at the MAKS 2005 international aerospace show in the Moscow region.

    Alexander Klementyev, Sukhoi's deputy director general, said the defense ministry had already approved of the project.

    However, he did not specify the deadlines, saying that with sufficient financing the work would be accomplished within the ministry's time limit.

    Speaking about other avenues being pursued by Sukhoi, Klementyev said the company was planning to step up work in the post-production servicing of manufactured aircraft.

    "In 2004, we made about $100 million on the servicing market and this year we have already completed work worth about $200 million," he said.

    "We would like to service all exported Sukhoi aircraft," Klementyev added, mentioning that Sukhoi planes had been exported to 30 countries by the beginning of the 1990s.

    In response to a question about the company's plans to lease combat aircraft, the official said it was a possibility, but only in the distant future.

    "We cannot currently lease combat aircraft, because current legislation does not allow this," he said. "However, the relevant amendments to legislation are being considered by the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation."

    Aside from combat aircraft, Sukhoi will display the prototype of a regional passenger plane at MAKS 2005. According to Sukhoi officials, a digital mock-up of the plane is 90% complete.

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