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    Cooperation a key to the international aviation market

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    MOSCOW. (Nikita Petrov for RIA Novosti) - On July 14-20, Farnborough, a town in Hampshire, England, 30 miles west of London, hosted the 46th International Air Show, the largest such event featuring the latest achievements of the global aircraft industry.

    Spectators liked the prototype Boeing B-787 Dreamliner that remained grounded during the show and the low-noise Airbus A-380 jumbo jet that thrilled everyone with its clean lines and smooth performance.

    Russian aircraft makers displayed mock-ups of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29-OVT Fulcrum air-superiority fighter with a vectored-thrust engine, the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker, multi-role fighter and the civilian Sukhoi SuperJet-100 medium-haul airliner.

    In contrast, on July 7, military attaches from South East Asia and Latin America were shown a prototype Su-35 in Zhukovsky near Moscow. (VIDEO)

    Why did the Russians bring only aircraft mock-ups to Farnborough? Should our companies attend the show without taking part in demonstration flights?

    Mikhail Pogosyan, CEO of Russian aviation giant Sukhoi Holding Company, said foreign experts appreciated the national aircraft industry's development levels, and he said the Su-35 and the SSJ-100 were currently being tested.

    Instead of taking part in expensive demonstration flights, the company wanted to streamline both planes and to finance more important projects, Pogosyan told RIA Novosti.

    Nevertheless, Russian companies, including Sukhoi, were very popular at the show in Farnborough. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, a Sukhoi Holding subsidiary, and the Avialeasing Company offering professional services in aircraft leasing signed a preliminary contract for the delivery of 24 SSJs in Farnborough.

    SuperJet International, a joint venture involving Sukhoi Holding, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and Italy's aerospace engineering corporation Alenia Aeronautica, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, said it had signed two more contracts for the sale of 25 SSJ-100s.

    The company said Aeroflot, the largest Russian airline, as well as companies in France, Italy and The Netherlands, had ordered 100 airliners to date, and that delivery would begin next year.

    The Farnborough Air Show highlighted cooperation and co-production arrangements between Russian and foreign companies.

    Colonel General Vladimir Popovkin, Russia's Deputy Defense Minister in charge of weapons procurement, General Staff Chief Army General Nikolai Makarov and Air Force Commander Colonel General Alexander Zelin, visited Farnborough on July 14. General Popovkin later told Russian journalists that every aircraft displayed in Farnborough was the result of international cooperation.

    "Isolated decisions and isolated production are becoming history," General Popovkin said, promising that non-strategic Russian military aircraft would also feature foreign-made equipment.

    Russian armored vehicle producers recently bought thermal imaging systems, also known as infrared night vision devices, worth $1 billion, from France's company Thales.

    The Su-30MKI multi-role fighter being supplied to India features French, Israeli and British avionics. The SSJ-100 program involved 30 foreign companies, including Boeing, Snecma, Alenia Aeronautica, Thales and Honeywell International.

    Russia's United Aircraft-Building Corporation (UABC) that consolidates private and state assets manufacturing, designing and selling military, civilian, freight, and unmanned aircraft and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) signed a contract to convert 30 A-320 and A-321 passenger airliners into cargo planes for AerCap, a global aviation and leasing company based in The Netherlands. Fifteen of these airliners will be refitted in Lukhovitsy near Moscow, and the rest in Dresden, Germany. This will make it possible to retain skilled workers in both countries and to pave the way for long-term cooperation.

    Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Russian Technologies, an emerging industrial behemoth with assets in many sectors, from defense to automotive to civil aviation, discussed a Russian-U.S. joint venture now being established in Verkhnyaya Salda in the North Ural Region.

    Until recently, billets supplied by Russia's VSMPO-AVISMA, the world's largest titanium producer, to Boeing and Airbus were machined at plants in Europe and in Japan and used for load-bearing structures of the B-787 Dreamliner and the A-380 landing gear. This production will now be relocated to Russia. Boeing finds the deal profitable because the billets no longer have to be delivered to Europe and Japan and because Verkhnyaya Salda workers are paid less than their foreign counterparts. VSMPO-AVISMA will also profit from processing titanium shavings.

    There are many other examples of cooperation between Russian and foreign companies. Pogosyan said that 20 years ago, the Soviet Union returned to Farnborough for the first time in 50 years, displaying its Su-24 Fencer tactical bomber and Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack jet, the Su-27 Flanker, MiG-29 Fulcrum and MiG-31 Foxhound fighters there.

    At that time, the U.S.S.R. had the reputation of a formidable military superpower.

    Things have changed a great deal since then. The Russian aircraft industry now offers military and civilian aircraft, air-traffic safety, servicing, repair and upgrade systems and related logistics. Moscow is actively involved in international co-production arrangements and is ready to implement other mutually beneficial projects.

    Russian companies need to take part in international air shows such as Farnborough, and in Le Bourget near Paris, in Berlin, Singapore, Cape Town and on Langkawi Island, Malaysia, to promote Moscow's economic and political interests.

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

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