April 18, 2021

Special Report: Aviation: Russia Returns to Form at Paris Air Show

Paris — Russia has had a long but not always happy relationship with the Paris Air Show. Soviet, and then Russian, aircraft have participated in every show since 1957, but at Le Bourget in 1973, the Tupolev Tu-144, Moscow’s supersonic challenger to Concorde, crashed in public, with the loss of all its crew and the death of several people on the ground.

In 2009 and again in 2011, Russia chose Le Bourget to showcase the Sukhoi Superjet 100, the first new airliner to be produced in Russia since the end of the Soviet Union, and the spearhead of an effort to re-establish a foothold in the commercial aviation market, at least at the regional level. But the reception was lukewarm and sales fell disappointingly short of target.

This year, however, looks likely to go better. A total of 46 Russian companies will be presenting their wares at the show, mostly under the banner of United Aircraft Corp., the state-controlled holding company formed in 2006 to consolidate under one roof private- and state-sector aircraft design and manufacturing.

“Our exhibition space is one and a half times larger than in previous years and we will of course be increasing our number of display aircraft,” Maxim Syssoev, a spokesman for United Aircraft Corp, said in an interview.

Patrick Guérin, the communications director for Gifas, an umbrella group for the French aerospace industry, said Russia would present several of the main attractions at the Paris Air Show this year.

Center stage will be the latest version of Sukhoi’s SU-35 multirole fighter jet, taking part in flight displays for the first time in foreign airspace.

The revamped SU-35, described by Sukhoi as a new aircraft with an old name — one that was first used in the 1990s — is scheduled to perform every day during the show.

A second Russian international debut will be the twin-seat Kamov KA-52 Alligator attack helicopter, which went into service with the Russian military in 2010. It will be on static display and will also complete a flight demonstration to highlight its upgraded rotor system.

Also scheduled for presentation is the Yakovlev Yak-130, a new generation of trainer aircraft designed for basic and advanced military flight-school cadets. The Yak-130, first displayed at Le Bourget in mock-up form in 2005, is now in service with the Russian and Algerian air forces. United Aircraft Corp. is hoping that its relatively modest $15 million price tag will help it to attract interest in times of straitened military budgets.

Russia’s only commercial offering is the Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional jet, which had its world debut in 2009. The Irkut MS-21, a 150- to 210-seat, midrange “21st-century airliner” family, is under development as a replacement for the Tu-154 in the Russian aviation fleet, and will be presented as a model only.

The principal Russian display in the space section of Le Bourget will be an integrated inertial satellite system for launching vehicles and spacecraft, presented by the Academician Pilyugin Center, which was established in 2007 as a research and production company specializing in aerospace guidance, navigation and control systems.

“Traditionally the most spectacular displays of Russian aviation happen at the Paris Air Show,” Mr. Syssoev said. “This is a reflection of our strong business dealings in the French market, where we collaborate closely on both civil and military aviation programs with the likes of Thales, Safran and Zodiac, among others.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/business/global/russia-returns-to-form-at-paris-air-show.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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