Russia is planning to develop a prototype of an advanced lightweight fighter jet to supplement the fifth-generation T-50 aircraft, according to a top government official.

The new aircraft, which is expected to be cheaper to produce and easier to maintain, will include combat capabilities and performance characteristics, when compared with heavy-class aircraft.

"The new aircraft will include combat capabilities and performance characteristics, when compared with heavy-class aircraft."

Russia Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that "the development of a light-class fighter has been included in the current arms procurement programme."

The light-class fighters were in greater demand oversees compared to an advanced heavy-class aircraft such as Su-30 or the planned T-50 fighter jets, according to Rogozin.

Currently, Russia is developing the heavy-class T-50 multirole fighter aircraft, also known as PAK-FA, which is expected to enter service in 2016.

Rogozin said that Russia holds at least two types of tactical fighters such as the MiG-29/Su-27 to supplement one another.

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However, Rogozin did not indicate which of Russia’s two main designers of combat jets, MiG or Sukhoi, will be involved in the development of the future light-class fighter.

Defence Technology