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Russia will use an upcoming air show in India to showcase
Russia will use an upcoming air show in India to showcase its MiG-35 advanced jet fighter, a contender to win an Indian fighter tender, an official from Russia's state arms exporter said on Monday.

Aero India-2009, which will be held in the southern city of Bangalore on February 11-15, is one the largest aerospace shows in the Asia-Pacific region, hosting leading manufacturers, vendors and suppliers from 35 countries.

"The MiG will certainly make several demonstration flights after its presentation on the first day of the air show. We would like it to show its best features," said deputy director of Rosoboronexport Viktor Komardin.

Six major aircraft makers - Lockheed and Boeing from the United States, Russia's MiG, which is part of the UAC, France's Dassault, Sweden's Saab and the EADS consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies - are in contention to win the $10 billion tender for 126 light fighters to be supplied to the Indian Air Force.

Komardin reiterated that the MiG-35 has excellent chances to win the tender because the Russian aircraft has superb performance characteristics and Russia and India share a long-standing partnership in strategic and military-technical cooperation.

"The MiG family is well-known in India. Our Indian partners have production and maintenance facilities ready to produce part for our aircraft," the official said.

The existing Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation program until 2010, lists up to 200 projects worth about $18 billion.

India is a key buyer of Russian weaponry, with contracts including the delivery of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier with at least 16 MiG-29K Fulcrum-D carrier fighters, the Smerch MLRS, and licensed production of T-90 tanks in India.

Russia signed in March a contract with the Indian Defense Ministry to upgrade around 70 MiG-29 fighters, in service since the 1980s, and agreed to develop a fifth-generation fighter together with India.

Russia's MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, an export version of the MiG-29M OVT (Fulcrum F) is a highly maneuverable air superiority fighter, which won high acclaim during the Le Bourget air show in France last year.

The fighter is powered by RD-33 OVT thrust vectoring engines. The RD-33 OVT engines provide superior maneuverability and enhance the fighter's performance in close air engagements.

Moscow said if MiG-35 wins the tender, Russia is ready to transfer all key technology to India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. and provide assistance for the production of the aircraft in the country.

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