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Thursday, November 09, 2006

China confident Russia will allow fighter jet sale to Pakistan - report

Agence France-Presse
Nov 9, 2006 - 5:32:57 AM

BEIJING: China is optimistic it will win permission from Moscow to use Russian engines in a new multi-role fighter to be sold to Pakistan, the Financial Times reported, citing a senior official involved in the project.

Re-export of the Kilmov RD-93 engines would be a boost to the backers of the new Xiaolong fighter, which is being jointly developed by Pakistan and China, the newspaper said.

Moscow has for years banned Beijing from re-exporting Russian engines used widely in Chinese military aircraft to Pakistan, a policy driven mainly by Russia's long-term defence ties with India, the newspaper said.

But a turnaround would clear the way for Pakistan to buy at least 150 of the fighters, also known as JF-17 Thunder, in a deal valued at around 2.3 bln usd, the newspaper said.

Citing Li Pei, head of development of the Xiaolong at China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp (CATIC), the newspaper said Moscow was now expected to approve the sale to Pakistan by the end of 2006 or in January next year.defenctalk

However, Russia's state arms trading agency, Rosoboronexport, dismissed suggestions that Moscow was set to allow the re-export of engines as 'premature and unfounded,' the newspaper added.

The Xiaolong fighter is intended to offer much of the capability of the F-16 fighter produced by Lockheed Martin of the US, but at a much lower price, the newspaper said.
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