The Sixth International Aerospace Show MAKS-2003, which opens today in the town of Zhukovsky not far from Moscow and will last until August 24, will be the most representative in the history of the show.
In the opinion of its organizers, the show will not only be a demonstration of what the world aerospace industry has achieved, but will also give a fresh impetus to the promotion of relations of partnership and cooperation, Ilya Klebanov, Russia's Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and the head of the MAKS-2003 organizing committee, told RIA Novosti the day before.
As many as 497 Russian companies and about 150 foreign ones from 38 countries are to display their achievements in the 58 covered pavilions and open sites on a total area of 23 square kilometers.
About 200 flying vehicles of various types, including about 50 foreign ones, will demonstrate their flight abilities.
It will be the largest European show of aircraft and will surpass the recent air show at Le Bourget, Klebanov said.
In the fights program, together with the well-known Russian aerobatics groups Rus, Strizhi and Russian Knights, pilots from France, Italy and the U.S. will show their skills in aerobatics. The French pilots promised to "draw" a heart in the air as a sign of love and respect for Russian beauties and Russia, a RIA Novosti correspondent was told at the MAKS-2003 press service.
Up to 600,000 visitors that are expected at the aerospace show will see many new developments of the Russian aviation industry for the first time.
The Russian Air Force is expected to take a big part in the show. New and modernized military aircraft and the designs of modernizing the Su-24, Su-25, Su-27, MiG-29, MiG-31, Mi-8, Mi-24 and other planes will make up the basis of the exposition.
The Space Forces of Russia, which will take part in the aerospace show for the first time, will display models of spaceports, carrier rockets, and have stands providing information about the system of training officers for the space troops.
The enterprises of the Russian Agency of control systems will also take part. They will display air defense means: the anti-aircraft missile systems S-300PMU Favorit, S-400 Triumf, Pantsyr-S1, Feniks, and modernized Shilka, Tunguska, Top-M and Buk, and Strela-10M.
The Saturn research and production association will present a project of modernizing the D-30KP, KU and KU-154 engines (installed in the Il-76, Il-62M and Tu-154M aircraft respectively).
The Russian Government has already decided which of the new types of the aircraft will be used in the army, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said before the opening day. "We attach great importance to this part of the air show. I think a good deal has been achieved over the past two years," he said.
According to Kasyanov, the signing of contracts for the sale of Russian civil and military aircraft is to be expected at the aerospace show.
One of the main goals at the show will be to establish cooperation with foreign aircraft manufacturers, said Deputy Prime Minister Boris Alyoshin. "Our goal is not only to demonstrate the possibilities of all types of Russian aircraft, air defense systems and space vehicles, but also to attract the international community to cooperation in designing aggregates, units and accessories for flying machines," Alyoshin stressed.
In his view, cooperation with other manufacturers practically did not exist before the early 1990s, though Soviet aircraft had occupied 25 percent of the world market. But now, he said, "business is made not only on the sale of planes, but also on servicing aircraft." Alyoshin believes that the aerospace show in Zhukovsky will result in signing a number of contracts, and some of them will be signed for accomplishing cooperative tasks.
Until August 21 the show will be viewed by experts, and on the next day it will be open for all.
US and Chinese experts believe that the Sukhoi Checkmate aircraft will become competition to their F-35 and FC-31 fighter jets in the arms market.