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    India 'to remain top buyer of Russian combat aircraft until 2015'

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    India will remain the main purchaser of Russian-made combat aircraft for the next 15 years under existing and prospective contracts, a respected Russian think tank has said.

    MOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - India will remain the main purchaser of Russian-made combat aircraft for the next 15 years under existing and prospective contracts, a respected Russian think tank has said.

    In its report, The Forecast for Combat Aircraft Deliveries to India, the Center for Analysis and Technologies outlined the prospects for Russian-Indian cooperation in the sphere of combat aircraft until 2015.

    The report predicts that India will buy up to 90 Su-30MKI fighters under existing contracts and may also purchase additional Su-30 or modernized MiG-29K aircraft.

    Russia's MiG-35 Fulcrum is also participating in the current $10.6-billion tender to supply 126 multirole fighters to the Indian air force.

    Russian experts believe that the MiG-35 has an excellent chance of winning the tender because the Russian aircraft has superb performance characteristics and Russia and India share a long-standing partnership in strategic and military-technical cooperation.

    In addition, Russia signed in March last year a contract with the Indian Defense Ministry to upgrade around 70 MiG-29 fighters, in service since the 1980s, and agreed to develop a fifth-generation fighter together with India.

    India desperately needs to upgrade its fighter fleet, which includes Su-30MKI and MiG-29 fighters, but mainly consists of obsolete Russian MiG-21 models.

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