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MOSCOW, August 12. /TASS/. Research and development for the creation of a new generation long-range interceptor-fighter to replace Russia's MiG-31 will begin no earlier than 2019, the commander in chief of Russia’s Air and Space Forces, Colonel-General Viktor Bondarev said.
"Research and development for creating a long-range interceptor of the future will begin no earlier than 2019," he said.
"The deadlines for research and development to create a long-range interceptor will not affect the condition of the Air and Space Forces’ interceptor-fighter fleet," Bondarev promised.
The upgrade of the current MiG-31 interceptors is nearing completion, he said.
According to earlier reports, the MiG-31 upgrade program will provide the Russian armed forces more than 130 MiG-31BM fighter planes.
The first contract was concluded in 2011 for the supply of more than 50 upgraded planes by 2019. Another contact for more than 50 planes to become available by the end of 2018 was signed in the autumn of 2014.