The Russian Defense Ministry has long announced plans to develop a new-generation fighter under the federal defense procurement program until 2015, and contracted the Sukhoi Design Bureau, the developer of the famed Su fighter family, to design the new aircraft.
"At present, we have completed the development of technical documentation for the fifth-generation fighter and passed it to the production plant, which will start construction in the near future," Colonel General Zelin said.
The new fighter will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aircraft-manufacturing plant in Russia's Far East, but the manufacturer of the engines will be chosen in a tender, the general said.
Sergei Ivanov, a first deputy prime minister supervising the defense industry, said in May that Russia's fifth generation fighter will take to the skies by the end of 2008.
The Air Force commander also said Wednesday that Russia would deploy advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with flight range of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) and flight duration of up to 12 hours by 2011.
The UAVs of both fixed- and rotary-wing types will perform a variety of tasks, including reconnaissance, attack, retransmission of radio signals and target designation, the general said.
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The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.