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India's first stealth fighter to fly in 4 months
Vishnu Som, Sunday August 30, 2009, Moscow

In less than four months from now, India's first stealth fighter will fly for the first time. It is called the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft or FGFA being developed in Russia by Sukhoi.

The FGFA is designed to have a top speed of approximately Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound.

It has the ability to supercruise or operate at speeds beyond the speed of sound without engaging systems such as afterburners which consume huge amounts of fuel.

The aircraft will be equipped with an electronically scanned array radar whose beams are electronically steered to detect targets with maximum accuracy.

India, which has partnered Russia in the development of multi-role fighter Sukhoi 30 MKI, is a key player in the FGFA project and is expected to pay a sizeable chunk of the $3 billion needed to fund development of the fighter.

"The prototype will take off this year," said Alexei Fedorov, president of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation.

Several of the technologies being developed for the stealth fighter have evolved from those used in the Sukhoi 30 MKI.

Considered the most maneuverable fighter in the world, the Sukhoi 30 MKI uses thrust vectored engines which deflect the exhaust from its engines to extreme angles which enable the jet to pull off violent maneuvers like a flat spin where the jet literally spins around on its axis.

As new technological advancements are being developed for the stealth fighter, they will also find their way into the Sukhoi 30.