ZHUKOVSKY, Russia (Reuters) - Russia expects initial orders for its fifth-generation T-50 fighter jet, being developed with India, to be booked from 2015, United Aircraft Corporation’s chief said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is due to watch the first public display of the stealth fighter at the MAKS airshow, where Russia is showcasing its top-of-the-line fighter jets and hoping to win civil aircraft contracts.
Russia is developing the T-50 with India, its biggest export market, and has earmarked the craft to compete with the established F-22 made by Lockheed Martin and Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s upcoming F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“Right now the main interest comes from the Russian and Indian Ministries of Defence as the countries hosting the programme,” said Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) President Mikhail Pogosyan.
“I think after 2015 we will start to see orders,” he said.
Russia’s defence industry is working to break out of a long period of stagnation it entered when funding for new weapons systems was cut at the demise of the Soviet Union.
Five stealth aircraft are expected to be tested this year, state news agency RIA reported Pogosyan as saying.
UAC, which groups civil and military aircraft companies, said it expected to sell 100 Superjets and MS-21 civilian aircraft at the air show. The Sukhoi Superjet is Russia’s new mid-size jet, designed to compete internationally with Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier.
“Our corporate forecast is for sales of 800-1,000 aircraft. We see 40 percent of this market coming from inside Russia, but we see the Superjet as a fully marketable airplane which will go to the European market as well as to the Asian market,” Pogosyan said.
There have been 170 orders to date.
The MS-21 is intended to replace Russia’s aging TU-154 aircraft and will be ready for sale by 2017. It will compete directly with industry giants Boeing and Airbus and seat between 130 and 170 passengers.
Pogosyan said the project was running on schedule.
(Reporting by John Bowker, Thomas Grove and Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Will Waterman)