The latest round of economic sanctions imposed against Russia by the U.S. and European Union (EU) did not directly target the civil aerospace and air transport sectors, but they may yet inflict collateral damage on these industries. The U.S. sanctions, announced on September 12, included the Rostec defense group, which has ambitions in the civil sector, such as its planned joint venture with Canada’s Bombardier to build Q400 regional airliners in Russia.
The Russian defense ministry has ordered seven more Su-30SM two-seat fighters worth 13 billion roubles, boosting the total to be acquired to 72. Of these, the Russian air force is getting 60 and naval aviation 12. An initial contract for 30 was placed in 2012. Some have reportedly been deployed to Crimea.
The Irkut MC-21 program, which is developing a family of single-aisle airliners, is on track to meet its current development schedule, according to officials of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC, Chalet B10 and Hall 1 Stand E8), at the Farnborough Airshow.
Among milestones reached and planned are assembly of the first MC-21 starting late this year or early 2015; first flight at the end of 2015 or early 2016; and entry into service in late 2017.
For UAC subsidiary Irkut, the Farnborough Airshow is a great chance to connect with Western partners and prospective customers for its MC-21 narrowbody airliner development. The group claims that the new design’s composite wing will give it an operating cost advantage even over the new re-engined Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737Max airliners.
The successful consolidation of key parts of Russia’s aerospace industry into the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is more evident at this year’s Farnborough International Airshow then at any time since the group’s formation back in February 2006.
Representatives of Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade met with executives of the Irkut Corporation at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant (IAP) on February 5 to talk over “issues” concerning the preparations for serial production of the new MC-21 airliner. Deputy minister of industry and trade Yuri Slyusar, director of the aviation industry department of the Ministry of Industry and Trade Andrey Boginsky, Irkut president Oleg Demchenko and Irkutsk Aviation Plant general director Alexander Veprev attended the meeting.
Russia’s Irkut Corp. is well known in the Asia Pacific region because of the mighty vectored-thrust Sukhoi Su-30 series multirole fighters in service with Indian and Malaysian air forces, numbering about 200 aircraft. The maker also supplied Su-27UB operational trainers to China; and a number of Asian nations still operate swing-wing MiG-23U trainers and MiG-27 strike aircraft built at the corporation’s manufacturing site in Irkutsk city, western Siberia.
Russian civil aerospace executives might remember last week’s Moscow Air Show (MAKS ’13) at Zhukovsky Air Field outside the Russian capital as the start of their industry’s ascent toward global relevance.
Russian airframer Irkut has begun exploratory talks with Bombardier over plans to cooperate in providing customer support for its planned MC-21 narrowbody airliner. Irkut wants to tap the Canadian group’s expertise in setting up customer support infrastructure.
Irkut and the Yakovlev Design Bureau announced at the Paris Air Show this week that they expect Bangladesh to sign up for the Yak-130 trainer/light attack platform before the end of the year. If this happens, the nation will join a growing number of nations that have ordered the type, including Belarus last December.
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