Russian and Italian engineers will jointly develop a patrol aircraft with extraordinary technical characteristics. Under the project, intellectual systems of communication, navigation and identification produced by Italy’s SELEX Company will be installed on the Be-200 and L-38 aircraft manufactured in Russia. This will pave the way for the new plane to occupy a leading position on the patrol aircraft market.
This deal between Russia’s Rosoboronexport Company and Italy’s Finmeccanica Group was signed at the Farnborough-2012 Air Show in Britain. Despite some doubts expressed by some experts over Russia’s success at the Farnborough Show, and the absence of the “Russian Knights” aerobatic team, Russian officials have achieved definite and positive results.
One of them is an agreement on cooperation with the Italian companies SELEX Elsag, SELEX Galileo and WASS which are partners of the Finmeccanica Group. A similar partnership is also developing between Russia and Israel. The patrol aircraft, which will be manufactured jointly with the Italians, will be delivered to third countries.
The deputy head of Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheev said that the Russian company’s partners are key figures on the market of patrol aviation equipment. The new aircraft can fulfill various tasks, including surveying border, monitoring smugglers’ routes, drug trafficking and illegal immigration, monitoring the environment, oil deposits and carrying out rescue operations. A Rosoboronexport official Vyacheslav Davidenko stated this in an interview with the Voice of Russia.
“The aircraft will also be modified to fulfill such missions as maintaining law and order, spotting submarines and fighting piracy. The type and configuration of the aircraft will be determined by taking into account how to meet customer demands effectively,” Vyacheslav Davidenko said.
Russian and Italian experts will carry out a market research study. Afterwards, serial production of the aircraft will start. A military expert Victor Baranets believes that the conclusion of the contract is a logical continuation of military and technical relations between Russia and Italy.
“In this case, we can talk about our contacts linked to the Agusta helicopter. The Russian Defence Ministry even planned to buy several helicopters and launch joint production. The question is still under discussion.
The second most interesting project is the development of the Yak-130 combat trainer. It has already become an object of national pride and has won international recognition. At present, we are talking not only about the upgrading of Russian aircraft. Russia and Italy are jointly developing navigation equipment, engines and many other things,” Victor Baranets said.
In fact, this is not the only contract concluded by Russia at the Farnborough Air Show. On the 9th of July, the first day of the show, the Iliyushin Finance Company signed a contract with Panama’s South America Aircraft Leasing on the supply of three An-148 aircraft and an option to deliver 12 An-148 and An-158 planes.
The Vertoleoty Rossii Company announced that it would conclude an agreement with Italy’s AgustaWestland to design a new light helicopter. The Unified Aircraft Corporation hopes to sign contracts with airlines in South-East Asia to supply 40 Sukhoi Superjet-110 passenger aircraft.
The Irkut Corporation has concluded several agreements with the French company Zodiac Aerospace Group on greater cooperation in manufacturing the MC-21 aircraft. At present, Russia’s aviation business does not have the possibilities of Boeing or Airbus, but it has great potential.