A legal challenge to the formation of AVPK Sukhoi, the planned grouping of Russian military design bureaux and production houses, has been refused by Russia's supreme court.

The lawsuit had been brought by Alexander Merkulov, general manager of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur production plant. He was supported by Mikhail Simonov, general designer of the Sukhoi design bureau, both of which are to be included in the grouping. They had mounted the legal challenge in an attempt to retain independence for their enterprises.

The formation of AVPK Sukhoi was announced in 1996 by decree from Russian president Boris Yeltsin. It was subsequently subject to a Government order calling for the integration of the Sukhoi and Beriev design bureaux with the Irkutsk, Komosomolsk and Novosibirsk production plants.

New AVPK Sukhoi general director Alexei Federov has been outspoken in attacking the "personal ambitions of industry leaders", which he says have acted as a brake on reform. "The top managers believe that they are operating in their own private fiefdoms -I believe that this is the Achilles heel of restructuring," he says, speaking ahead of the court judgement at the Russian Aerospace '97 conference hosted by Flight International and Aviaexport in Moscow on 20-22 May.

Federov also calls for the Russian Government to "-show leadership" in forcing through the re-organisation.

Officials of the economics ministry, which is now overseeing aerospace restructuring, suggest that the Russian prime minister is expected personally to take on the issue of Sukhoi's opposition to the grouping. One senior ministerial official is reported as saying that "-it will not last long now".


Source: Flight International