China has ordered 10 used Il-76s from Russia’s arms vendor Rosoboronexport as an interim measure to enlarge its fleet of the heavy airlifters, before the redeveloped Il-476 version becomes available. Sergei Kornev, head of Rosoboronexport’s aviation equipment department, told AIN that his company has already found seven suitable airframes on the secondary market. They are being overhauled before delivery to the PLA Air Force. Rosoboronexport is still sourcing the other three aircraft, which could come from non-Russian fleets.
Three Finmeccanica companies have signed agreements with the Russian defense export agency Rosoboronexport to offer maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) versions of Russian types. Selex Galileo would provide its ATOS mission management system, while radio specialist Selex Elsag would provide advanced CNI (communications, navigation, identification) equipment.
Geopolitical shifts including regime-change in Libya, the stiffening of international sanctions against Iran and violent unrest in Syria, are among the trends compelling Russian military export agency Rosoboronexport to keep looking for new clients worldwide. This is, to a large degree, one of its primary motives for exhibiting at the Farnborough International Airshow.
Russia’s defense industry is looking both to compete and cooperate with its western European counterparts as it bids to expand its international customer base.
Last year, Russian defense export agency Rosoboronexport (Hall 1 Stand B13) achieved a new post-Soviet-period record for export of military hardware totaling $6.2 billion. Its previous record of $5.3 billion was established in 2006, a significant rise over $3 billion worth of sales in 2000.
Russian simulator and avionics specialist Transas is expanding its flight-training portfolio for both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. The company is also engaged in an ongoing program to equip Russian aircraft with the terrain avoidance and warning systems (TAWS) that they need to fly on international routes.
The amount of foreign off-the-shelf defense products China purchases is falling, overall, but its cooperation with foreign countries–mainly Russia–shows a growing trend toward acquiring licenses and technologies for production and joint development projects. The Chinese are especially interested in new materials, composites, software and high technology for aircraft or engines. They also are developing product support infrastructure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent Middle East tour triggered the signing of a $25 million contract to supply six Kamov Ka-226 light helicopters to Jordan over the next two years. The deal is a breakthrough for Russian helicopter manufacturers as Jordan previously bought only Western-built rotorcraft.
The expansion of Russia’s defense exports in recent years has caused its manufacturers to buy more components and systems instrumentation from leading Western companies, which has led to closer cooperation between Russian and Western firms.
Sukhoi plans to supply 30-odd combat aircraft this year and sell more than $1.5 billion worth of its products, said Mikhail Pogosyan, the company’s general director. He added that various models of the Su-30 aircraft will be delivered to Malaysia, Algeria and Venezuela. In addition, aircraft component packages will be supplied for ongoing licensed production of Su-30MKI fighters in India.