Nizhny Novogord: 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 on 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 USD 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.