Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Russia's state-owned defense enterprise Rostec will partner with the United Arab Emirates for the development of a 5th-generation light combat fighter.
The collaboration was confirmed by Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov, who spoke about the upcoming project during the International Defense Exhibition conference, or IDEX, in Abu Dhabi. Chemezov says work on the new aircraft will begin in 2018.
Chemezov elaborated on the project's timeline in an interview with Defense News.
"That's not fast, because it takes quite a long period of time to develop," he said. "We anticipate local production here in the Arab Emirates, for the needs of Emirates. And of course [we expect development to support the needs of] the neighboring countries."
The National reports the fighter is expected to be based on the MiG-29, a Soviet-era twin-engine aircraft designed to counter comparable U.S. fighters such as the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon during the Cold War.
In addition to developing a new jet, Russian defense leaders add the UAE has also expressed interest in procuring the Sukhoi Su-35, which is marketed as a 4++-generation multirole fighter.
Rostec's announcement comes shortly after the company also confirmed it will be working with the government of India to develop a 5th-generation advanced medium combat jet for the country.