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No surprises at the Le Bourget air show

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MOSCOW. (Military commentator Viktor Safonov for RIA Novosti) - Sukhoi will present its new plane, the SuperJet-100, previously called the Russian Regional Jet, or RRJ, at the Le Bourget air show in France on June 18-24.

The jet's body is undergoing static tests at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) in Zhukovsky outside Moscow. Its engine, the SaM146, is a joint product of France's Snecma (Safran Group) and Russia's Saturn. It will be ready by the end of the year, when the jet will make its maiden test flight.

However, full-scale models of the plane's engine, passenger cabin and cockpit will be on display at Sukhoi's pavilion at Le Bourget in June. Visitors will also see models of the company's combat aircraft - the Su-30MKI, the multi-role fighter built for India, the Su-30MKK made for China, the Su-30MKM made for Malaysia, the Su-30MK2 made for Algeria, the Su-35 designed for the Russian Air Force, the experimental Su-47 with forward-swept wings, the Su-32, an export version of the Su-34 Fullback fighter-bomber, as well as weapons for them, including guided air-to-air, supersonic anti-ship and air-to-surface missiles.

This year, for financial reasons, Sukhoi will not make demonstration flights at Le Bourget. The flight to Le Bourget and back, deployment at the airport there and demonstration flights (up to three per day) cost too much for the company. Sukhoi is not going to spend money in Europe, where its planes are not in demand, because specialists from North and South America, the Middle East, North and South Africa and Central and Southeast Asia know these planes very well.

There will be another aerobatic team from Russia this time, presenting MiG's multi-role thrust-vectoring fighter, the MiG-29OVT, also called the MiG-35 Fulcrum F. Thrust vectoring increases flight maneuverability, allowing the plane to actually dance on its tail.

This almost unique characteristic (only Su fighters can also do this) allows the MiG-35 to defeat any enemy in close combat. The plane has been entered in a tender against the United States' F-16, Sweden's Gripen and France's Mirage-2000, which will also be presented at Le Bourget, for supplies to India.

MiG will also bring to France lots of mocks-up, posters, booklets and video films about 37 other planes, from trainers to armaments and combat control systems.

Other Russian companies taking part in this year's air show are Ilyushin, Irkut, the Taganrog-based Beriev plant, which makes hydroplanes, the Mil and Kamov helicopter producers, the Ramenskoye design bureau of onboard electronics, the Moscow-based NIIR-Fazotron producer of radars for MiG and Sukhoi fighters, the Sokol plant in Nizhny Novgorod, the Chernyshev plant, which makes aircraft engines, including for fighters, the Pribor instrument-making company in Kursk, Moscow's Avionics company, and Almaz-Antei.

The latter is building a fifth-generation air- and missile-defense system. Its new product, the S-400, which will be put on combat duty in Moscow on July 1, can hit all air targets, including cruise and ballistic missiles, at a distance of 400 km (249 miles). Almaz-Antei also produces the famous S-300PMU Favorite and the Tor-M1 and Osa-AKM systems, which Greece has bought, as well as the S-300VM (Antei-2500) and Buk-M1 systems, the modernized S-125M1A (Pechora-A) missile system, and many other systems that can reliably protect the skies of any country, including in the European theater.

NATO has said it wants to join forces with Russia to create a reliable missile defense system for Europe. Almaz-Antei is ready to take part in the project, just as the managers of the concern and the Russian defense industry have said before. Unfortunately, good intentions have not yet become deeds, possibly because American rivals are lobbying for their Patriot PAC-3 missile system, although it is inferior to the Russian S-300PMU, let alone S-400, system.

Rosoboronexport, the state-run arms exporter and importer, will have everything any country could want at its stand at Le Bourget, from mocks-up of modern Russian T-90S and T-80U tanks to the Msta-S self-propelled howitzer, designed to NATO's 155-mm standard, the Iskander-E short-range ballistic missile system, which has recently been tested at the Kapustin Yar range outside Astrakhan in southern Russia, the world famous Kalashnikovs, the Abakan assault rifles, and AEK-971 guns.

The state monopoly will also present combat and fire control systems; radar, reconnaissance, navigation and communication systems; GLONASS satellites and receivers; night-vision goggles; unmanned aerial vehicles; and many other interesting items.

In all, 24 Russian companies will present 374 products at Le Bourget this year. Some of them will be totally new, but none will be a revelation. The Russian exposition will not be meant to frighten anyone or demonstrate Moscow's readiness to repel any military challenge, but will instead spotlight its traditional desire to cooperate in order to strengthen global security and fight terrorism, including the aerial kind.

Security cannot be divided up into various elements or separated between countries. This is the main idea of the Russian defense companies that will present their products at Le Bourget.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

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