Russia aborts stealth fighter takeoff: official

21st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

An engine problem forced Russia to abort the takeoff of its new T-50 stealth plane at an air show outside Moscow on Sunday, officials said.

The pilot "stopped the take-off due to technical defects," a spokeswoman for the MAKS international airshow told AFP, adding that the Sukhoi fighter never even left the ground.

The plane was still undergoing tests so technical glitches were to be expected and the pilot "simply chose not to take risks," the spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for the state-run United Aircraft Corporation, the parent company of plane-maker Sukhoi, attributed the problem to a fault with the right engine.

Experts will be closely looking into what caused the glitch, she told AFP, noting there was no plan to take the plane into the air again later Sunday.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attended the air show on Wednesday, when the T-50, which is being developed jointly by Russia and India, made its first public flight.

It is one of the two of the sleek fighter jets being showcased and test-flown at the annual show which began Tuesday.

The MAKS air spokeswoman said the planes had flown without a hitch over the previous four days.

Russian officials have said the final version of the T-50 will not be ready until the end of 2016, although the country's air force expects to receive the first jets within three years.

© 2011 AFP

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