Russia’s exposition at Paris Air Show 2005 (1,700 square meters) is the second-major regarding the number of military products after the US. Visitors are interested in products displayed by the Russian defense industry. Russia focuses on developing production of warplanes, and the civil aircraft industry is in stagnation. It’s no coincidence that the RRJ project, which was represented in France, is realized by the Sukhoi military-industrial holding.
In all, over 40 defense enterprises represent Russia in France. Rosoboronexport reports that Russian produces displayed a wide range of prospective military hardware for the Air Force in the form of scale models and videos. Visitors can get information about RRJ and all export modifications of warplanes by the Sukhoi company. First and foremost, the matter concerns the Su-27SKM fighter (generation 4+). This maneuverable fighter features the best flight characteristics in the world and can destroy any type of air, surface and ground targets using high-precision weapons. In addition, Sukhoi displayed the Su-30MK fighter, the Su-32 fighter-bomber, the Su-39 assault plane equipped with the Kopye radio-locating complex, the Su-47 experimental plane, the Su-33 ship borne fighter and more.
Rosoboronexport’s representatives note that Sukhoi is first in the top ten companies of the Russian defense industry (its profit amounted to $1.5 billion last year).
The MiG corporation also has a large stand at the show. This company’s sales amounted to $427 million in 2004. Specialists are interested in the MiG-AT combat-training plane and the MiG-29 front fighter. The corporation also displayed the STBP-29 simulator. Representatives of foreign armies are also interested in the MiG-31E interceptor.
The Yak-130 combat-training plane is another interesting model in the Russian exposition. The aircraft can be used as a training plane and as a light assault plane. Different modifications of the Mil and Kamov helicopters occupy a substantial niche at the expo.
Rosoboronexport notes that Russia remains a leader among the major suppliers of warplanes and combat helicopters in the world. The share of space and aircraft products in Russia’s arms exports ($5.12 billion in 2004) amounts to around 60%.
It should be noted that Russian aircraft producers participate in all regional tenders and offer their fighters, military-transport planes and helicopters.
Rosoboronexport noted it its press release, “tender programs offered by Russia become favorites not only in the cost-efficiency category where Russia is traditionally strong. Our offset offers and programs linked with the passage of technologies and licenses, and organization of maintenance centers become more competitive. Our space technologies succeed on foreign markets.” It should be noted that Rosoboronexport and enterprises of the Russian airspace industry “prove to be mature as long-term and strategic partners within the framework of their contracts”.
In particular, Russia accomplished the contract to supply the Su-30MKI fighters to the Indian Air Force in November 2004.
This project is unique because Russia exported onboard radio-electronic hardware created in cooperation with Indian, French and Israeli companies.
Russia focuses on modernization programs and the creation of prospective combat, military-transport and multipurpose helicopters using new materials and radio-electronic complexes. In this regard, specialists say that the demand for modified models of Russian helicopters increases.
The range of products and the geography of exports expands. In particular, Russia recently signed a contract to supply the Mil helicopters to Venezuela. Russia supplies helicopters to the Czech republic and Malaysia. Rosoboronexport notes that Russian producers cooperate with European partners (SAGEM, THALES, MBDA, SNECMA, Bae Systems). The partners plan to modernize warplanes and helicopters and the armies of east European and Central European nations. Russia does not rule out the possibility of creating heavy transport helicopters for European customers.
There are some achievements in Russian-French military-technical cooperation. In particular, they promote the MiG-AT combat-training plane equipped with the SNECMA engines to foreign countries. The press service of Rosoboronexport states that Russia cooperates with SAGEM in creating the LINS-2000 laser inertial navigation system.
At the same time, it should be noted that Russia falls behind foreign countries in the sector of civil jetliners, though Russia has a substantial foundation for developing this sector. However, jetliners become obsolete, and Russia does not produce new ones. Russian companies purchased only two Il-96 and one Tu-204 jetliners last year. In addition, Russia equips its jetliners with Western engines in order to meet modern requirements. Airlines prefer foreign jetliners despite the fact that they have to pay customs duties. In particular, they purchased 29 foreign jetliners last year. As a rule, these are Boeing jetliners.
In other words, Russia has good chances to become a strong aircraft power in the future. This requires support from the state and strong will. To all appearances, Moscow must toughen requirements on imports of foreign jetliners.