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Russian Air Force to receive some 20 new combat aircraft in 2009


MOSCOW, January 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Air Force will receive around 20 modernized Su-25 Frogfoot attack aircraft and new MiG-29SMT Fulcrum fighters in 2009, an Air Force spokesman said on Thursday.

"About 10 modernized Su-25 attack aircraft and over 10 MiG-29SMT fighters will be delivered to the Air Force in 2009," Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said.

The Su-25 Frogfoot is a single-seat, twin-engine combat aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau to provide close air support for ground troops.

The Su-25 aircraft has been in service with the Russian Air Force for more than 25 years. In 1999, Russia adopted a program to upgrade part of its aging Su-25 fleet. The Air Force received the first six modernized Su-25SM planes in December 2006.

Russia will keep a modernized version of its Su-25 attack aircraft in service with the Air Force until 2020.

The MiG-29SMT is a recent modification of the MiG-29 multirole frontline fighter. The aircraft features a longer flight range due to the extra capacity of its integral fuel tanks and the installation of an in-flight refueling system (similar to that of the MiG-29SD), among other enhancements.

Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is in charge of arms procurement, said on Wednesday that Russia's fifth-generation fighter must be commissioned with the Air Force by 2015.

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