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Highlights of MAKS-2017: PAK FA Test Flights, Foreign Contracts & New Prospects

© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankSU-34 bomber on a field during preparations for the opening of the Maks 2017 International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky.
SU-34 bomber on a field during preparations for the opening of the Maks 2017 International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky. - Sputnik International
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The 13th International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2017 kicked off on Tuesday in the Russian city of Zhukovsky, and its commercial part, which completed on Thursday, can already be considered a success with large number of agreements signed, including with foreign partners, and some important statement made by officials.

The MiG-35 aviation complex presentation in Moscow Region. File photo - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — President Vladimir Putin said in a welcoming letter to the participants and guests of the event that the contracts concluded confirmed foreign partners’ willingness to collaborate with Russia.

The head of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugaev also confirmed huge interest on opening day, saying 170 foreign participants from 50 countries, some 650 pieces of military equipment and 70 official delegations were attending.

Rosoboronexport: 15 Contracts Signed

Russia's Rosoboronexport state arms exporter has held more than 50 talks with foreign delegations, and signed 15 contracts and cooperation deals during MAKS-2017, the corporation said Friday.

"During MAKS-2017 business program, we held negotiations with more than 50 foreign delegations, which resulted in the signing of 15 contracts and cooperation agreements. Our experts made over 50 presentations for delegations from 20 countries at the request of our partners. This exceeded the expected results," Rosoboronexport's delegation head and Deputy Director General Sergey Ladygin said.

An Sukhoi Su-34 multirole fighter jet lands at the the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS 2017 in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region. - Sputnik International
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At this year's MAKS-2017, Rosoboronexport presented over 160 pieces of military equipment. Customers were mostly interested in Su-35, Su-32, MiG-35, Yak-130 and Yak-152 aircraft, as well as Ka-50, Mi-35M and Mi-17V5 helicopters. Aside from this, significant attention was paid to air defense systems, including Pantsir-S1, Verba and Buk-M2E systems.

Rosoboronexport expects military aviation equipment to constitute over 50 percent of 2017 exports, Ladygin said.

"The countries of the Middle East and of the Pacific Rim will be chief importers of this type of weaponry," he added.

PAK FA: First Stage of Tests End

The first stage of tests of Russia's Sukhoi T-50 (PAK FA) fifth-generation fighter aircraft have been completed, Russian Aerospace Forces Commander Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said Thursday.

"Today is a historic event, a preliminary agreement on joint state tests of the first stage of the T-50 plane was signed at the MAKS aviation salon. We begin the second stage of tests. We also received a recommendation on beginning of production of initial batch of planes," Bondarev said.

The Russian Foundation for Advanced Research (FPI) also told Sputnik it had presented the first "nervous system" of PAK FA aircraft designed to improve flight safety.

T-50 strike aircraft at the MAKS-2013 Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky - Sputnik International
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"FPI, for the first time at the MAKS-2017 air show, demonstrated the design of the advanced aircraft's 'nervous system' — an aircraft structural monitoring system based on the principles of operation of living organisms nervous system," the foundation said Thursday.

The president of United Aircraft Corporation Yury Slyusar said that the company was discussing the delivery of first 12 T-50 jets to the Russian Defense Ministry in 2019.

China Interested in Space Cooperation, Arctic Choppers

Russia and China have arrived at a new stage of cooperation in the space industry, China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) CEO Yin Liming said.

A stand of Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport. (File) - Sputnik International
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"Our cooperation has entered a new stage of development… Right now space cooperation between the two countries, be it technology, systems or applications, has the trend of rapid development. Technologies and products of our countries are actively developing, trade also reached a new level. We hope that this [MAKS-2017] aviation salon will help strengthen cooperation with all countries, especially with Russia, in space industry, in joint development of new products, new systems, new applications, in expanding cooperation in more fields, in searching for new objects of cooperation," Yin said.

According to the CEO, joint projects include manned spaceflights, remote probing, navigation systems and other bilateral projects in all areas of space cooperation.

Chinese customers have also expressed interest new unmanned helicopter VRT300, designed to develop the traffic system of the Northern Sea Route and help in the exploration of the Arctic, which was presented by Russian Helicopters for the first time at MAKS-2017.

"Exploration of the Arctic is especially relevant for China, which is planning to become one of the countries that use the Northern Sea Route soon. In this regard, the company notes an interest of potential customers in China to the arctic version of the VRT300 [unmanned helicopter]," Russian Helicopters said.

Turkey Likely to Buy S-400, Iran Undecided

Technical issues of the contract for the supply of Russian S-400 air defense missile systems to Turkey have been resolved, only administrative ones remain, the general director of Russia's Rostec state corporation Sergey Chemezov said.

"The final decision will be made by the Russian and Turkish governments. Negotiations with the [Russian] Ministry of Finance are underway and, most likely, some funds for this project will be provided by Turkey itself, and some will be received in the form of a loan," Chemezov added.

Iran has not yet decided to buy Russia's S-400 air defense systems, Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Abdolkarim Banitarafi said.

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"With regard to the equipment, we have bought S-300 systems from Russia. And regarding the S-400, we have not yet come to any decision," Banitarafi said, adding that Iran relies on Russia as a strategic partner in the field of defense.

Head of FSMTC Dmitry Shugaev also said Russia was discussing the deliveries of S-300 air defense system battalions with Serbia.

"Serbian partners are currently expressing their interest in the supply of S-300 SAM battalions. This issue is being discussed," he said.

In Development: Electric, VTOL Aircraft, Cruise Missiles

The Su-33s are seen aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser. file photo. - Sputnik International
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Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is proceeding with the development of electric aircraft for civil and military applications, UAC's chief designer Sergey Korotkov said Thursday.

"Now we are working on new sources of energy and are planning to develop electric aircraft. The main goal is to apply the experience and practices of all design bureaus," Korotkov said.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry is considering the development of a vertical takeoff (VTOL) aircraft for aircraft carriers based on the Yak family, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said.

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"The Defense Ministry is discussing with our aircraft manufacturers the development of an aircraft with a short take-off and landing, possibly with a vertical take-off and landing, this is the development of the Yak line," Borisov said on the sidelines of the MAKS-2017.

As for new missiles, Russia's Tactical Missile Systems Corporation said it would finish the development of a new line of cruise missiles with ranges of between 100 and 1,000 kilometers (62-620 miles) by 2020. A new line will feature missiles with ranges of 100, 200, 400 and 1,000 kilometers, company's head Boris Obnosov said.

Obnosov also said the company had presented an X-250 with a laser self-homing head at the exhibition.

"We are the first in our country to master such technologies, and we hope that by the end of the year we will complete the work on this product. This is very important, because we, like the rest of the world, strive to have the targets differentiated, with minimal damage to the civilian population. Unfortunately, usually there is no war in the bare desert," he said.

A new heavy-duty carbon fiber-reinforced plastic for the manufacture of hulls of space vehicles and solar batteries, as well as wings, blades, engine nozzles, were developed in Russia by the Skolkovo resident Sintez-Project, project's coordinator Vasily Aristov said.

"We managed to get a really heavy-duty carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The strength of this material, with the same weight, is eight times greater than that of the most durable steel. The material has a 30 times less moisture absorption than currently used epoxy-based composite materials, and also 100 times better crack resistance, high temperature resistance and dimensional stability," he explained.

Cooperation With Europe

Vladimir Putin visits the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2017 - Sputnik International
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European companies are especially eager to cooperate with Russia in the aerospace sector, including supplies of devices equipment and parts, their maintenance, building aircraft and helicopters and even attracting Russian investments in their enterprises.

Chair of the Executive Board of German Aerospace Center Pascale Ehrenfreund told Sputnik that his company was interested in cooperation on an international research space station.

GIFAS, the French aerospace industries association, is open for cooperation with Russia in the area of light helicopters production if helicopters are certified by European organizations, Thomas Chatel, a manager in charge of Europe, Russia and Turkey at GIFAS, told Sputnik.

"We hope that in the field of light helicopters, we will have some opportunities to cooperate more closely. In principle, all civilian helicopters provide an opportunity for cooperation between France and Russia. And we, first of all, can provide aviation equipment and engines, because this is key for light Russian helicopters… And I think that if the Russian side will have an interest in using our equipment in its helicopters in the future, of course we are open to all kinds of cooperation," Chatel said.

According to Chatel, GIFAS wants to be sure that all the cooperation that will be established with Russian companies can be certified in Europe.

"We must be sure that Russian products can be certified not only by the Russian authorities, but also by international organizations, in particular by the European Aviation Safety Agency," Chatel added.

Ehrenfreund, whose company is a regular MAKS participant, said the telescope presented on their stand that would fly to international space station next year, is produced with Russian-German cooperation.

Czech companies are also interested in Russian investments in the aerospace sector, Business Development Manager for Aerospace of Czechinvest Erik Bolebruch told Sputnik.

Rosoboronexport display stand - Sputnik International
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"We are here to verify the interest of Russian aerospace companies if there is any potential for investment in the Czech Republic," Bolebruch said, adding that areas of cooperation might include engine building and aircraft industry.

Libor Hanus, the director of Russian operations at CzechInvest, said that Czech aerospace companies were already in touch with Russian companies and looked forward to anti-Russia sanctions being lifted to further expand cooperation.

Netherlands may also cooperate with Russia in building parts and the maintenance of aerospace vehicles, international service engineer of Moba bv Frank Mars told Sputnik.

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