Russian industry: back from the brink

Things were pretty tough for Russian aerospace companies through the first 20 years of the post-Communist era, with some getting by pretty much hand-to-mouth by securing export sales only.

That situation has started to change, and a rush of domestic orders has come over the recent few months for 55 Yak-130s, 92 Su-34s, 30 Su-30SMs and 24 MiG-29K/KUBs, to name but a few. And as fighter manufacturers everywhere know, the best way of winning international business is to keep a hot production line active back home.

I’ve seen a stark contrast between old and new during my short stay in Moscow. The optimism of some of industry’s main players is clearly now more than just talk, with real money coming at their companies for the first time in years.

Elsewhere, Russia’s former symbols of military might are been abruptly pushed aside. A short stroll from my hotel is Moscow’s former Khodynka airport, which is now being encircled by modern tower blocks and a new ice rink. Outside the terminal building appears to be a storage site for new Mercedes and other luxury cars.

There’s a rather sad collection of ex-Soviet combat aircraft and helicopters still on the runway, the majority of them in poor condition or having been vandalised.

 

Boneyard 560.jpgWith new building work going on just yards away from them, hopefully some of these relics could yet find their way to museums, rather than the scrap yard (which is where I suspect the MiG-21 above will be going soon). A couple I had seen in previous shots are no longer there, so hopefully have been found new homes.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting the Russian air force museum at Monino, which looks set to be one of the highlights of my stay here. I’ll post more pictures from both locations to Flightglobal’s AirSpace gallery once I’m back in the UK.

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