BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defence contractor, is in talks about possible joint ventures with Irkut, a Siberian-based aerospace company which used to make MiG fighter jets for the Soviet Air Force.

Alexei Fedorov, Irkut’s chief executive, said the companies could eventually agree to share work and risk on new fighter trainer aircraft, wings and unmanned aerial vehicles – the new generation of fighter planes.

Mr Fedorov, who will float his company on the Moscow stock exchange this month, said he had met Mike Turner, BAE’s chief executive, several times in London, Farnborough and Malaysia.

He added that he is determined to make his company an integral part of the consolidated European aerospace industry as Russia adopts a more market-based approach to modernising its economy after the re-election of president Vladimir Putin.

The Irkut boss is a senior figure in Mr Putin’s United Russia party. A partnership deal with BAE would be among the first of its kind between a former Soviet company and a European firm, though Irkut already has a joint venture with EADS, the Franco-German group, to market its Be-200 amphibious jets… Read More