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.
A new alliance with the evolving Russian aerospace sector and efforts to break into the Middle East defense market are key to Italian industrial group Finmeccanica’s strategy for boosting its global presence in the industry. Finmeccanica (Stand C310) comes to Dubai fresh from having formed the new Superjet International joint venture between its Alenia Aeronautica subsidiary and Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co.
The aerospace world got its first close look at the Sukhoi Superjet 100 when Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company staged a rollout ceremony on September 26 outside its final assembly plant in the Siberian city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
The Sukhoi-led Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) program awaits approval to take off in July this year, but much depends on Boeing, as the U.S. aerospace giant contemplates its role in the project, so far restricted to sharing expertise in marketing and aircraft design with its Russian partners. Boeing plans to make a decision this summer.
Ask someone in the Russian aviation community about the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) program and you’ll likely receive a variety of reactions. Except for those enterprises that have a vested interest in the project, responses range from the skeptical to the derisive.
Transport Canada and Canadian government officials in Moscow have appealed to Russian authorities to issue certification for the Bombardier CRJ900, two of which Kazan-based Tatarstan Airlines had received this summer but may not operate until the 86-seat regional jet gains approval to fly in the CIS. The airline, which placed a firm order for six of the airplanes, has leased the first pair to a carrier in United Arab Emirates in the interim.
The simulator for the PowerJet SaM146 engine destined to power the Superjet 100 regional airliner had recently arrived at the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) headquarters in suburban Moscow when, early last month, engineers incorporated the device into the so-called electronic bird, a systems integration rig complete with cockpit simulator and wrap-around visual system.
Russia’s Air Register of International Aviation Committee (AMRAK) in late June awarded the Tupolev Tu-334 regional jet AP-25 certification, allowing revenue operation of the RSK MiG/Aviant-built 102-seat jets after five years of intermittent test flying. The approval, which hypothetically parallels FAR Part 25, came just two months after RSK MiG director Vladimir Toryanin threatened to shut down program development for lack of funds.
For years, airshow crowds have been wowed by the superlative demonstrations of Russian fighters, but now visitors here at Le Bourget can sample the delights of flying such aircraft themselves. On the Sukhoi stand (Hall 4, Stand G15) a Su-35 flight simulator creates a realistic atmosphere not to be taken lightly by those prone to air sickness.
Sukhoi has secured its first Western customer for the Superjet 100 regional jet with a $283 million order for 10 firm aircraft from Italian low-cost carrier ItAli Airlines. The deal covers options for a further 10 aircraft.