AP Interview: Russia’s MiG sees drones as fighter jet future

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Military officers look on at Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget, north east of Paris, France, Tuesday, June 18, 2019. The world’s aviation elite are gathering at the Paris Air Show with safety concerns on many minds after two crashes of the popular Boeing 737 Max. (AP Photo/ Francois Mori)

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LE BOURGET, France (AP) — The head of Russia’s MiG warplane manufacturer says his company is entering the drone market, and sees pilotless fighter jets as the future.

Ilya Tarasenko said in an interview Tuesday at the Paris Air Show that “we have several options that we are preparing for the market” and the company is discussing them with customers.

He would not give a timeframe for when the unmanned aircraft would be ready, but said they’d be in the size range of MiG-35 or MiG-29 fighter jets. MiG rival Sukhoi recently rolled out a heavy stealth drone.

Looking 10 or 20 years ahead, he told The Associated Press: “We see increasing development toward drones” and artificial intelligence, toward a machine that is not just controlled remotely from the ground but “can make its own decisions in the air.”

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