Russian manufacturer Irkut has created a systems integration division and will offer its expertise to other Russian companies seeking to upgrade military aircraft for the export market.

Irkut president Alexei Federov says the company gained valuable experience when integrating a multinational systems package on the Indian air force's Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole fighters. The aircraft uses equipment from suppliers including France's Thales and Israel's Elisra, as well as Indian and Russian suppliers. Federov says there were considerable logistical problems with the integration, and that this experience will be valuable to future upgrades of Russian aircraft for exports.

"The Su-30MKI was the result of international co-operation and we encountered delays in customs clearance, delivery schedules and many other things for which we were unprepared," he says. Federov says Irkut, which last year acquired Moscow-based Russian Avionics, formerly Ramenskoye Instruments, aims to position its facility in Irkutsk, eastern Siberia, as the sole systems integrator for any future consolidated Russian aerospace company.

The new division's first project is expected to be on the development of a unmanned reconnaissance air vehicle designed for para-public missions, with test flights scheduled from late this year. Federov says the company has launched development of a UAV for search-and-rescue and border patrol missions and to provide surveillance for fire crews.

The company will base the UAV's systems on the Aria 200 integrated avionics suite developed for the Beriev Be-200 amphibious firefighting jet. "Using the Be-200 is not economically feasible for surveillance, but the same systems on a cheaper platform could be," says Federov.


Source: Flight International