On February 28 Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Rostislav Apollosovich Belyakov passed away, just days before his 95th birthday. Little known outside Russia until the late 1980s, Belyakov was the brilliant aeronautical engineer behind much of the successful MiG jet fighter dynasty. Despite taking on the running of the Mikoyan OKB (design bureau) from 1971, Belyakov remained very much a “hands-on” manager, leading or co-leading the design teams that produced the MiG-23, 25, 27, 29 and 31, which became the backbone of the Soviet/Russian air force.
United Aircraft Corporation
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.
Ilyushin Finance is entering the business aviation market with plans to have some of the airliners it has on order for its lease portfolio outfitted with VIP interiors. For the most part, the aircraft to be offered for lease for private and corporate clients will be Russian-made airliners, such as the Tupolev Tu-204 and Antonov An-158, but the company also has orders for new aircraft such as Sukhoi’s Superjet SSJ-100 and Irkut’s MC-21.
There is no shortage of uncertainty about the future of Russia’s Sukhoi Perspektivniy Aviatsonnoi Kompleks-Frontovoi Aviatsii (PAK-FA)/T-50 fifth-generation fighter project. These doubts are driven by problems with major subsystems, delays with the aircraft’s introduction into service, and plans to defray some of the R&D cost by making India a developmental partner on the aircraft.
The Russian government has finalized a follow-on order for four Tupolev Tu-204-300s with VIP interiors. The Kremlin’s Special Air Detachment, the government flight department that transports Russia’s senior political leaders and high-ranking officials, already operates two of the type.
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company has produced the first VIP version of its new Superjet SSJ-100 airliner. The first example of the Sukhoi Business Jet was on display at last month’s MAKS airshow in Moscow. It is due to go to Russian defense export agency Rosoboronexport by year-end. This aircraft is based on the standard SSJ-100 model but future SBJs will be based on the long-range version of the narrowbody.
At MAKS 2013 the Russian air force exhibited Red 33, its second upgraded Beriev A-50U Awacs aircraft. Built in 1984, it was modernized from the A-50M standard last year and redelivered in February this year. Work on the A-50U began in 2008. Aerial trials followed in 2009 on the industry-owned prototype Side 37.
Beriev expects negotiations for licensed production of the Beriev Be-103 and Be-200 amphibians in China to be completed by year-end, the company’s general manager, Victor Kobzev, told AIN. Meanwhile, the company will resubmit the 42-metric-ton-mtow Be-200 twinjet to the European Aviation Safety Agency for certification. At the MAKS 2013 Moscow Air Show last week, Rostec subsidiary KRET (Russian acronym for Radio-electronics Technologies Concern) showed reworked avionics, including some already installed in a Be-200SE-E on the static display.
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.
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