By RIA Novosti,
Nizhny Novogord (Russia) : Production of MiG-35 multirole fighters offered for sale to India cannot start before 2013 or 2014, a Russian aircraft maker has said.
“We have begun testing the MiG-35 fighter for the Indian tender,” Alexander Karezin, general director of the Sokol company based in Nizhny Novgorod, said Thursday.
Russia’s MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, an export version of the MiG-29M OVT (Fulcrum F), is a highly manoeuvrable air superiority fighter, which won high acclaim during the Le Bourget air show in France last year.
Six major aircraft makers — Lockheed and Boeing from the US, Russia’s MiG, which is part of the UAC, France’s Dassault, Sweden’s Saab and the EADS consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies — are in contention to win the $10 billion contract for 126 light fighters to be supplied to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Sokol earlier said that the first two MiG-35 aircraft would be delivered to India in August for test flights prior to the award of the tender. In late 2009, Russia will conduct a series of flight tests with live firing for an IAF delegation at a testing ground in Russia.
The fighter is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines. The RD-33 OVT engines provide superior manoeuvrability and enhance the fighter’s performance in close air engagements, its manufacturers say.
Moscow said if MiG-35 wins the tender, Russia is ready to transfer all key technology to India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and provide assistance for the production of the aircraft in India.