Russia resurgent

Fly to Moscow with Aeroflot and it is likely to be on an Airbus or Boeing. Even Russia’s state-owned flag-carrier buys its equipment from the West. Russia’s own civil aerospace industry as good as collapsed with the fall of communism and only domestic and export orders for military jets and the country’s workmanlike helicopters kept the sector alive.

In the last few years, the government – from President Putin down – has been determined to rectify the situation. The country’s curious command-structure complex of design bureaux and production plants was consolidated from 2006 into three holding companies, for helicopters, engines and fixed-wing aircraft. The latter – United Aircraft – now controls a host of famous brands, from Sukhoi to MiG, Yakovlev to Beriev, Irkut to Ilyushin. Not long after, two key programmes were launched – the Sukhoi Superjet and the Irkut MC-21 – which, thanks to partnerships with European and North American suppliers, have been dubbed Russia’s first “Western” aircraft.

In this week’s Flight International (20 August), we have a special feature package on Russian aerospace ahead of the MAKS air show in Moscow, which starts on 27 August. I’ve been to Moscow to interview some of the leading lights of the industry, including the heads of United Aircraft, Irkut, MiG, Russian Helicopters and Ilyushin Finance. We also have an  article on Russia’s space sector and a preview of the show itself.

We’ll be at the show and you’ll be able to follow all the news as well as see amazing pictures and video on our interactive show magazine, accessed via our landing page flightglobal.com/maks.

Meanwhile, you can catch up with all the happenings from the AUVSI unmanned air systems symposium in our three-page report in this week’s issue, as well as developments in the world of Latin American business aviation from LABACE in Sao Paulo.

The issue also has analysis of the UPS A30oF crash at Birmingham, Alabama and Polish carrier LOT’s ongoing struggle to get compensation from Boeing for its grounded 787s.

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