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T-50 Fighter to Be Unveiled at MAKS

The new twin-engine T-50 fighter flying Saturday over Zhukovsky, near Moscow, ahead of the MAKS opening. Misha Japaridze

The long-delayed fifth-generation fighter jet will be unveiled to the public at the MAKS air show, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said, a move Russia hopes will show the resurgence of its air industry.

Russia has been developing the jet — known as the T-50 or by its Russian abbreviation PAKFA — for some years in the hope of competing with the established F-22 U.S. aircraft made by Lockheed Martin/Boeing and the upcoming Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“The fifth-generation fighter will be displayed in the sky for the first time,” Ivanov told a government session late last week.

The plane, designed by Sukhoi, a unit of United Aviation Corporation, had its first test flight in January 2010.

Putin is expected to visit the air show, which opens Tuesday at the Zhukovsky airfield outside Moscow, in the hope of overseeing a string of orders for Russian planes and helicopters as well as deals with overseas manufacturers.

Contracts totaling more than $3 billion are expected to be signed at MAKS, Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov told journalists Friday.

“We are talking about both defense and civilian orders, including for the promising MS-21 aircraft,” he said.

In December, Russia signed a deal to jointly develop the fifth-generation fighter with India, a long-time customer for its military products.

The air show, which will be open to the public Friday through Sunday, will feature some of the world’s biggest planes, including the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy military transport, and Airbus’ double-decker A380 jetliner.

(Reuters, Interfax, MT)

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