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PARIS — Russia will receive its first batch of fifth generation fighters in late 2016 or early 2017, the head of Russia's United Aircraft Corp. said Monday.

Sukhoi, which is part of UAC, has already delivered four prototypes and two test beds of the aircraft, known as the T-50, and will deliver another three flying prototypes this year, Yuri Slyusar, the head of UAC, said at the Paris Air Show.

"That means testing can be expanded and more faster," said a spokesman.

"There are no delays on this program," he added.

In a press conference outlining UAC's current activities, Slyusar said a full R&D collaboration contract would be signed this year with India for joint work on the version of the T-50 India is developing. Russian and Indian engineers are already exchanging visits.

UAC is also due to sign a similar contract this year with India on the development of a new 20-ton transport aircraft.

Slyusar said he believed that China would sign to acquire 24 Su-35 aircraft this year.

On the home front, Slyusar said UAC was also due to offer through-life support on its Su-34. "If that improves reliability then it could be extended to other aircraft," the spokesman said.

UAC continues to focus on transport aircraft, including the new IL-112 light transport aircraft, with two prototypes due for delivery in 2017, while three of 39 upgraded Il-76 aircraft ordered will be delivered to Russia this year. The new version features a glass cockpit and has been re-engined. UAC is also working on a life-extension plan for Russia's An-124 aircraft.

While 80 percent of UAC's $8 billion in revenue last year derived from defense programs, Slyusar said the group aimed to reduce that to 50 percent, thanks to a growth in civil programs. "But defense work will itself also grow," a spokesman said.

UAC produced 159 aircraft in 2014, up 40 percent on 2013.

Email: tkington@defensenews.com

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