Moscow Show Features Russian Warplanes–and High-tech Western Avionics

 - August 30, 2013, 9:30 AM
A trio of Sukhoi T-50 prototypes starred in the flying display at the MAKS 2013 Moscow Air Show this week. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

Three of the four Sukhoi T-50 prototypes now flying came together in formation over the Moscow Air Show at Zhukovsky this week. Various Russian enterprises reported new deals and displayed new developments. But Western technology, including sophisticated defense equipment, was also on display. According to the organizers of MAKS 2013, one-third of the more than 1,000 exhibiting companies were from abroad.

United Aircraft (UAC) said it would deliver 65 combat aircraft this year, and more than that next year, up from 35 last year. It signed a contract, reportedly valued at $2.5 billion, for maintenance support with the Russian defense ministry. UAC’s MiG subsidiary signed agreements with a private company in India to support MiG-29s there.

Beriev and Vega revealed details of the A-60 project for a new AWACS aircraft; meanwhile, four of the existing A-50 AWACS based on the Il-76 are being modernized. Vega also delivered the first of two Tu-204 airliners converted for Open Skies monitoring. A top Ukrainian official visiting the show described yet another plan to relaunch production of the An-124 heavy airlifter. Russian Helicopters showed the latest upgrade to the Mi-17, and announced a sale of the type to Cameroon. Almaz-Antei showed the new S-350E Vfityaz air defense system.

EADS Cassidian displayed some advanced military avionics, electronic warfare and radar systems. These included the MILDS AN/AAR-60 missile warning system for the defense of aircraft and helicopters; the advanced laser threat alerting system (Altas); the Argos-II airborne observation system; the Sferisense obstacle-detecting laser radar for helicopters; and the Spexer 1500 ground-based AESA radar for surveillance. The company told AIN that export licenses would be required if any contracts were signed, but “we would not exhibit products or solutions if we [saw] no chance to get an export license.”

Meanwhile, Sagem said that it is developing an enhanced version of the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter with Russian Helicopters, “to address a requirement expressed by several countries.” The French company said it will bring experience gained from developing the Strix optronic sight for the Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter. The Ka-52 would also be equipped with the LINS-100 laser gyro inertial navigation system, which is already being produced in Russia by a joint venture between Sagem and ZAO-ITT. Sagem also signed an MoU with NPO Vysokotochnye Kompleksy for high-performance thermal imagers.