MOSCOW, May 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's fifth generation fighter will take to the skies by the end of 2008, a first deputy prime minister said Tuesday at a session of a government military commission.
"We are nearing the end of research and development work, and Mikhail [Pogosyan, the head of Sukhoi aircraft maker] confirmed that the first plane will make its maiden flight in late 2008," Sergei Ivanov said.
Ivanov, who oversees industrial development and is seen as a candidate to succeed President Vladimir Putin in elections next spring, said the new fighter will become the mainstay of Russian frontline aviation in the 21st century.
The minister said the new multirole fighter, developed by Sukhoi design bureau, will feature high maneuverability and stealth to ensure air superiority and precision in destroying ground and sea targets.
"The development of a new generation aircraft will certainly boost the authority and competitiveness of the Russian defense industry on global markets," Ivanov said.