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Russia's recently incorporated MiG aircraft manufacturer may become
Russia's recently incorporated MiG aircraft manufacturer may become part of the state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) by the end of 2008, the head of the company said on Thursday.

UAC was formed last year from leading domestic plane producers to streamline the country's aircraft building industry, and includes Ilyushin, Tupolev, Sukhoi, Antonov and Mikoyan, as well as companies involved in distribution.

"I think we will join UAC this year," MiG's new general director, Anatoly Belov, said in an interview with the Kommersant business daily. "We are expecting Ernst & Young to complete the audit of our corporation in June, and then the usual integration process will begin."

Belov said MiG's current orders portfolio totaled about $4 billion with additional options for $2.5 bln until 2011-2012.

"Our market segment [medium and light fighters] is growing and has great potential," he said. "In the next few years we will be offering four models of our aircraft - MiG-29SMT, MiG-29K/KUB, MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-35."

Commenting on the delivery of 12 MiG-29K single-seat and four two-seat MiG-29KUB carrier fighters to be deployed on the Indian Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, formerly the Admiral Gorshkov, sold to India for $1.5 billion in 2004, Belov said the first four single-seat aircraft will be supplied in the next few months and the remaining eight - by June 2009.

Some media sources circulated in May reports that the Indian Navy had asked Boeing to supply its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet supersonic carrier-based fighter aircraft for use on board the Vikramaditya.

"These are just rumors," Belov said. "It is not surprising that they have been circulated around the Indian fighter tender."

India announced last year its largest-ever international tender for 126 multi-role medium fighters, estimated at $9-10 billion. Experts say the additional planes will help India meet its needs for modern aircraft to replace its obsolete fleet of mostly Russian-built MiG-21 Fishbed and MiG-23 Flogger models.

Principal bidders include the Russian MiG-35, the French Dassault Rafale, the U.S. F-16 and F/A 18 Super Hornet, the Swedish Gripen, and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

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