Undeterred by Pandemic Covid-19, MAKS-21 Opens in Moscow

Defence Industry

Moscow / New Delhi: Undeterred by the prevailing pandemic Covid-19 worldwide, curtain went up on the 15th International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-21which was officially opened by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Putin emphasized that MAKS fully meets its high international status despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “In total, over 250 foreign companies from more than 50 countries are represented here – directly or remotely”, said Putin.

Putin also inspected a prototype of a new Sukhoi fifth-generation fighter jet  that Russia unveiled at the air show with an eye on export markets. The warplane, given the project name “Checkmate”, is likely to be touted as a rival to the US F-35 stealth fighter, said Oleg Panteleyev, head of the Aviaport analytical agency.

The warplane is expected to take to the skies in 2023 with a first batch due to be produced in 2026, Yury Slyusar, head of the United Aircraft Corporation told reporters. Russia plans to produce 300 of the aircraft over 15 years once serial production begins, he said.

Rostec, Russia’s state aerospace and defence conglomerate, said the plane was hard to detect and would have low operating costs. Rostec’s chief, Sergei Chemezov, said it would cost $25 million to $30 million, the RIA news agency reported. Moscow expected demand from nations in the Middle East, Asia Pacific region and Latin America, he said.

The partner country of MAKS-2021 is the Republic of Kazakhstan, which takes part in the implementation of mutually beneficial projects with Russia in the field of aviation and astronautics, including the assembly of helicopters of Mi family and a joint project Baiterek on launch services from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Concurrently, Russia is open to cooperation in the field of aviation and astronautics with all countries. “Improving flight safety, reducing the negative impact of aviation on the environment, exploring extra-terrestrial space – these are the areas where scientists, designers, and other specialists from different countries must unite to achieve new breakthrough results”, said the Russian president with confidence.

The opening ceremony was followed by a tour to view the exhibition. Putin took a look at promising domestic aircraft, in particular with the light multipurpose aircraft LMS-901 Baikal, the helicopter Ka-62, a specialized helicopter for offshore operations Mi-171A3, the upgraded helicopters Ansat-M, Ka-32A11M, unmanned helicopter VRT300. The Russian president also came on board the Sukhoi Business Jet.

After visiting the exhibits and viewing the demonstration program Putin held a meeting on the implementation of key projects in the field of civil aircraft engineering. During the event he reminded that the government implements large-scale measures to support sales of new civil aircraft, inter alia – Sukhoi Superjet-100 aircraft and domestically manufactured helicopters. “Let’s see today how the adopted decisions are being implemented, how many aircraft and helicopters have already been purchased using the mechanism of government guarantees, are there any issues of concern which may still remain unresolved”, he said.

Also the head of the state demanded to define the prospective plans of aviation equipment manufacturers until 2030 as well as their liability for obligations in terms of delivery timeline, prices, quality and operability level of such equipment. “These plans must be adequately funded using various sources. This is also one of our major topics today”, he concluded.

The opening day of MAKS-2021 was marked by the signing of a number of cooperation agreements. In particular, some new orders were received for Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft: PSB Leasing has signed a firm contract for the delivery of 15 aircraft for Rossiya Airlines, Irkut Corporation signed memoranda for the delivery of 25 aircraft with Red Wings, 10 – with Azimut and 8 – with GTLK and Aurora.

According to the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov, the signed agreements for the transfer of the SSJ-100 evidence that the SSJ-100 is a much-needed aircraft.

“The fleet of civil aircraft in Russian airlines is being renewed, and it is right that this is happening due to domestically manufactured airliners. According to the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) survey, there is an obvious demand among passengers to expand the route network in Russia bypassing Moscow hub, and it is the SSJ-100, with its characteristics, that can meet this need”, the minister said.

Also, Irkut Corporation and Rossiya Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding to put the MC-21 aircraft into service.

Customers also took an active part in the contracting of helicopters at MAKS-2021. For example, the UTair Helicopter Services airline ordered 50 Mi-8AMT helicopters from the Russian Helicopters Holding company. Supplies will start in 2022. Two Ansat helicopters are leased by Russian Helicopter Systems from Avia Capital-Service. The landmark event of MAKS-2021 was announcement of contract performance between the National Air Sanitation Service and PSB Leasing company for the delivery of 66 sanaviation helicopters, including 28 Mi-8MTV-1 and 37 Ansats. The total value of the deal for the supply of 66 units is 28 billion roubles. The leasing period is 15 years.

The Ulyanovsk region at MAKS-2021 continued its work on the implementation of aviation projects, i.e. in cooperation with the company Avia Capital-Service, it is planned to incorporate a specialized leasing company in the region. In the first phase its portfolio would include at least 10 Ansat, Mi-8 and Mi-38 helicopters for about 4 billion roubles. In the future it is expected to expand the fleet of the leasing company due to the aircraft MC-21-300, Sukhoi Superjet 100, IL-114-300. The parties also reached an agreement providing for IL-76 aircrafts and helicopters of Helix airlines to be based in the territory of the region, specializing in cargo transportation in the interests of the regional companies.

Novikombank has signed an agreement with the Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies to finance “green” projects, while Technodinamika Holding has reached an agreement with Rosoboronexport to promote domestic solutions in the field of parachute technologies in the foreign markets.

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