Production of Russian Su-30MKI jet fighters is to begin under licence in India by the end of the year as expected. According to the influential Economic Times newspaper of India, the final preparations for manufacturing are being made in a plant belonging to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The factory is situated in Nasik, 180 km north of Mumbay. Four other subsidiaries of the firm in Koraput, Korwai, Lukhow and Hyderbad are also involved in the project, which is worth almost 3 billion dollars. In line with the contract signed in Moscow last December, India will produce Su-30MKI planes for 17 years without the right to re-export. In all, 140 planes are to be built. Indian firms will begin to produce all the necessary components for the fighter, including its state-of-the-art engine. The first Indian-built Su-30MKI is due to take to the runway in 2004.