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Moscow accuses Paris Air Show of barring Russian fighter jet

June 17, 1997

MOSCOW (AP) _ A Russian aerospace official claimed today that organizers of the Paris Air Show used bureaucratic formalities to block the display of Russia’s most advanced fighter jet.

Viktor Merkulov, director of the plant that makes Russia’s Su-37 fighter jet, said the organizers ``fear the competition from the Russian aircraft.″

Merkulov said the Su-37 was set to take part in the show that opened last weekend. The organizers had urged the Russian side to amend some documents, which it failed to do on time, and the plane was barred from taking part in the air show, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

No additional details were available.

It would have been the first public display of the new fighter, the first Russian combat aircraft to have the ``thrust-vectoring system″ that deflects engine exhaust and gives the plane extra maneuverability.

ITAR-Tass said the Su-37 is capable of making much sharper turns than the Russian fighter jets now in service.

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