MAKS 2017 Air Show

India Strategic - - CONTENTS - By Vi­nay Shukla

ZHUKOVSKY (MOSCOW RE­GION). Rus­sia’s lat­est twin- en­gine MiG- 35 and un­der de­vel­op­ment fifth gen­er­a­tion PAK-FA T-50 stealth fight­ers were the star at­trac­tions of the 13th edi­tion of Mezh­dunar­o­dny Avi­aKos­mich­esky Sa­lon or MAKS- 2017 ( In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion and Space Sa­lon) held July 18-23 at the Ra­men­skoe Airfield of the Gro­mov Flight Re­search In­sti­tute here. Due to the US-led West­ern sanc­tions over Ukraine im­posed on Moscow in 2014, there was lit­tle in­ter­na­tional pres­ence in the sky above and static dis­play on the tar­mac be­low. How­ever, Air­bus, which has a long list of cus­tomers in Rus­sia, proudly demon­strated its A-350Neo on the ground and air in the ab­sence of its ri­val Boe­ing’s Dream­liner. Swiss Pi­la­tus trainer air­craft, L-410 of Czech Re­pub­lic also demon­strated their ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The flight pro­gramme of MAKS-2017 was dom­i­nated by bat­tle-proven in Syria Su-30SM and Su35S, aer­o­bat­ics teams Strizhi (The Swal­lows) and Vityazi (The Knights) on MiG-29 and Su-30SM jets. The Baltic Bees Jet Team from NATO-mem­ber Latvia wowed the spec­ta­tors but Fur­san Al Emarat (The Emi­rate’s Knights) of the United Arab Emi­rates Air Force’s aer­o­batic team on their seven Aer­ma­c­chi MB-339 jet air­craft won the hearts of the pub­lic with their colour­ful dis­plays con­clud­ing with huge heart shape trails in the sky over the Zhukovsky town.

Although MAKS-2017 was lit­tle in­ter­na­tional in the air but on the ground it was quite the op­po­site with stands and dis­plays of Bri­tish Rolls-Royce, the US Pratt & Whit­ney, Tele­dyne Con­trols, French SAFRAN and many oth­ers. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Vik­tor Kladov, In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Di­rec­tor of Rostec State Cor­po­ra­tion, 180 com­pa­nies from 37 na­tions in­clud­ing In­dia’s Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited (HAL) took part in MAKS-2017.

In all 880 Rus­sian and for­eign com­pa­nies par­tic­i­pated in MAKS- 2017 or­gan­ised jointly by the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion’s In­dus­try and Trade Min­istry and Rostec State Cor­po­ra­tion - an um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion unit­ing hi-tech de­fence pro­duc­ers and state arms ex­port mo­nop­oly “Rosoboronex­port” (ROE).

WITH IN­DIA ON RUS­SIA’S MIND

Call­ing In­dia a ‘priv­i­leged strate­gic part­ner’ se­nior ex­ec­u­tives of var­i­ous arms and de­fence pro­duc­ers, in­clud­ing Rostec CEO Sergei Che­me­zov, told In­dia Strate­gic on the side­lines of MAKS-2017 that Rus­sian mil­i­tary-in­dus­trial com­plex is ready to share ‘most sen­si­tive tech­nolo­gies’ with In­dia. With fo­cus on In­dia, a se­lect group of In­dian jour­nal­ists was hosted by Rostec at MAKS-2017 to get first-hand knowl­edge about the state of af­fairs in Indo-Rus­sian de­fence co­op­er­a­tion.

The of­fi­cial In­dian del­e­ga­tion at MAKS- 2017 was led by HAL CMD T. Su­varna Raju and in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the In­dian Air Force (IAF) and Min­istry of De­fence (MoD). How­ever, no other de­tails were im­me­di­ately avail­able from the In­dian Em­bassy here but it is ev­i­dent that their talks would have been fo­cused on a fi­nal con­tract for the sale of S-400 Tri­umf long-range air de­fence sys­tems and nitty-gritty of fifth gen­er­a­tion fighter air­craft - FGFA for the IAF to be de­vel­oped jointly with Rus­sia’s Sukhoi on the ba­sis of its PAK-FA T-50 plat­form. RAC MiG, which for the first time pre­sented its lat­est MiG-35 fighter of 4++ gen­er­a­tion at MAKS2017 is eye­ing In­dia with op­ti­mism. Tak­ing ques­tions at the pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion of MiG-35, RAC MiG CEO Ilya Tarasenko con­firmed in­ten­tion to of­fer the lat­est fighter un­der ‘Make in In­dia’ pro­gramme.

Mr Tarasenko claimed that the IAF, which is op­er­at­ing MiG-29 air­craft is tak­ing in­ter­est in MiG-35 - a com­pletely new fighter as com­pared to the one fielded in the In­dian MMRCA ten­der.

How­ever, be­sides the fly­ing plat­forms at MAKS- 2017, Rus­sia also demon­strated a whole range of force mul­ti­pli­ers and elec­tronic war­fare and coun­ter­mea­sures sys­tems by Rostec com­pa­nies KRET and Shv­abe, which are closely co­op­er­at­ing with DRDO and IAF.

KRET ( Kontsern Ra­dio- elec­tronic Te­cholo­gies) dis­played its Khib­ini-M sys­tem mounted on the wing tips, which it claimed cre­ates a pro­tec­tion bub­ble around the fighter for deep pen­e­tra­tion strike in heav­ily de­fended ar­eas, Rus­sia’s asym­met­ri­cal re­sponse to stealth tech­nol­ogy. Shv­abe demon­strated an au­tonomously pow­ered pod for pro­vid­ing a fighter plane the ground-at­tack ca­pa­bil­i­ties with the use of smart bombs and ex­pressed their readi­ness to of­fer their hi-tech prod­ucts to In­dia. Held back-to-back af­ter Paris Air Show, MAKS-2017 did not see the deals to match its French ri­val, but or­gan­is­ers say that it sur­passed the in­di­ca­tors of pre­vi­ous MAKS-2015 in terms of ex­po­si­tion and busi­ness pro­gramme.

PUTIN FLIES IN ON “RusAF ONE” TO IN­AU­GU­RATE MAKS

Un­like in the past when Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin used to fly in a VVIP Mi-17 he­li­copter, this time he landed in his Ilyushin Il-96 air­craft also pop­u­larly known as ‘RusAF One’ to in­au­gu­rate the bi­en­nale show.

“The Peo­ple of Rus­sia have al­ways been in­ter­ested in the avi­a­tion de­vel­op­ment and space ex­plo­ration. I can say straight away that it is a sig­nif­i­cant part of our com­mon cul­ture, and the his­tory of na­tional cos­mo­nau­tics and air­craft en­gi­neer­ing is our na­tional pride…,” Pres­i­dent Putin de­clared in his in­au­gu­ral speech. Af­ter go­ing through some pav­il­ions sani­tised in ad­vance by the Krem­lin se­cu­rity, Pres­i­dent Putin tra­di­tion­ally bought an ice cream from a young lady ven­dor and fished out some money to pay for him­self. He de­clined his old pal from Dres­den days Rostec CEO Che­me­zov’s of­fer to pay for his ice cream.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial web­site of MAKS, the vol­ume of con­tracts and let­ters of in­tent reached the amount of RUB 394 bil­lion (Over $5 bil­lion) and the busi­ness po­ten­tial of MAKS-2017 ex­ceeded RUB 600 bil­lion ($10 bil­lion). Dur­ing six days of Sa­lon’s op­er­a­tion, more than 452 thou­sand vis­i­tors and guests vis­ited the event and were able to ob­serve the flights of eight aer­o­batic teams and 90 air­craft.

The largest trans­ac­tion of the Sa­lon in­cluded the firm con­tract for the sup­ply of 20 Sukhoi Su­per­jet 100 air­craft to Aeroflot—Rus­sian Air­lines and the con­tract for op­er­a­tive leas­ing of 16-21 air­craft to Red Wings.

Some re­ports sug­gest that 13th edi­tion of MAKS was the last at Zhukovsky and from next time in 2019 it would move to Ku­binka air­base (in close prox­im­ity to Moscow), be­ing de­vel­oped by the Rus­sian De­fence Min­istry as a sin­gle de­fence expo lo­ca­tion.

Rostec

CEO Sergei Che­me­zov at a MAKS press con­fer­ence (Be­low) HAL stall at the show

Lat­est ver­sion of MiG-35 on dis­play; A Pak-Fa (T-50) in flight

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