Among the many military trainers exhibited here at Le Bourget, the Russian Yakovlev Yak-130 light twinjet can justly claim to represent a totally new generation. Equipped with a fly-by-wire control system, three large-screen 6- by 8-inch multifunctional liquid crystal displays and claiming an ability to replicate the performance of any combat aircraft, the Yak-130 should arguably be on the wish list of procurement departments.
There are those in Russia who ask if the state’s plan to create a Unified Aircraft Corporation is a 21st century repeat of Stalin’s failed collectivization experiment of the late 1920s.
As competition to meet demands for advanced jet trainers in the region intensifies, Irkut is promoting the Yak-130 now entering production to meet a Russian Air Force requirement. Selected in 2002 as the principal aircraft for basic and advanced training, the Yak-130 has only recently begun rolling off the Irkut production line against an initial order for 12.
A number of multirole airborne systems for earth remote sensing (ERS) have been developed by Irkut to equip both unmanned and optionally piloted aerial vehicles. The systems are the result of research and development carried out by the company and its partners since 1999 for the systems detection and monitoring of emergencies. Tasks envisioned include the search for survivors and provision of information to rapid response agencies.
At August’s Moscow airshow, Irkut and Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding calling for the Russian manufacturer to participate in the A350 airliner development and other future programs. The agreement, which has yet to be firmed up, follows an Airbus commitment to give the Russian industry a 3-percent risk-sharing stake in the A350.
Three years after its creation, Irkut Corp. has established itself as a key player in still evolving aerospace and defense industry. It is one of the main pillars of the country’s new OAK conglomerate which aspires to become a sort of Russian equivalent to Europe’s EADS group.
EADS has teamed with Russia’s NPK Irkut and RSK MiG in a joint venture to convert Airbus A320 airliners into freighters. The new business–owned 50/50 between the European group and the Russian firms– is expected to generate $200 million in sales annually, based on around 20 A320F conversions. If successful, the partners will later undertake conversions of the larger A330 family.
Five months ago, on February 20, the long-awaited creation of Russia’s new Unified Aircraft Co. (OAK, in its Russian acronym) became official when President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering the immediate amalgamation of all Russian aircraft building enterprises into one large group.
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