At Farnborough Air Show, Russians argue with British, Europeans argue with Americans

The show's key intrigue is the tough competition between the two leading air giants

Spokespeople for the Moscow Helicopter Factory are indignant about the helicopter exhibited by the British company BAE System Avionics Group. It goes about the MI-24 helicopter of the Soviet production, which was modernized by the British company. Interfax cited the opinion expressed by the general director of the factory, Yury Andrianov. The director is deeply concerned with the fact that BAE Systems offers its services to modernize MI helicopters without any coordination with the Russian company. Andrianov stated the company’s administration was intended to report the incident to the Russian authorities.

The federal state unitary enterprise Rosoboronexport is ready to cooperate with BAE Systems in the field of modernization of MI-24 helicopters according to NATO standards, a source in the Russian delegation at Farnborough International Air Show told RIA Novosti. It was reported, the modernized MI-24 chopper was outfitted with BAE Systems equipment.

”Rosoboronexport's attitude to BAE System's project presented at the air show is absolutely normal. Moreover, we are ready to cooperate with the respectable British company,” the source said. It was also reminded, Rosoboronexport signed contracts with BAE Systems and the French company SAGEM last year. The contracts stipulated joint works to modernize Russian MI choppers (MI-17 and MI-24). The source said the companies had negotiated a possible installation of BAE System's avionics on MI-24 helicopters: infra-red vision stations, helmet displays and radio-electronic struggle systems.

”In this connection it seems rather strange that someone was unpleasantly surprised with the works of the British corporation demonstrated at the Farnborough Air Show,” the source told RIA Novosti.

According to Washington ProFile, the British corporation BAE Systems remained in the top ten of the world's largest military companies. In 2003, the company earned $17.1 billion, which made up 76.7  percent of all executed contracts.

Spokesman for BAE Systems Avionics Group Patrick Browne said the administration of the Russian Helicopter Factory was aware of the MI-24 modernization. The British company was surprised with the negative reaction from the Russian factory. Browne specified Russia did not present any objections against the air show project. The MI-24 helicopter still remains on the BAE Systems stand in Farnborough. The British company purchased the helicopter last year with a view to modernize it.

One of the world's most prestigious air shows opened in Farnborough, not far from London. Russian pilots will not demonstrate their art of flying at the show. However, several Russian aviation companies represent their products at the show: Rosvooruzhenie, Sukhoy, Kamov and Rosvertolyot. The company Sukhoy, for instance, presents a model of its first civil jetliner called the Russian Regional Airplane. There is no Russian plane or helicopter on the show. The range of Russian production is presented with models and booklets. Most important partners of the Russian aviation industry are situated in South-East Asia, not in Europe. It costs about two million dollars to deliver and demonstrate one airplane. That is why Russia takes part in the Farnborough International Air Show from the point of view of negotiations and possible business contacts.

More than 1,300 firms participate in the show. It is planned more than 300 thousand people will visit.

The show's key intrigue is the tough competition between the two leading air giants – the American Boeing and the European Airbus. American jets are widely presented at the show: well-known pursuit planes F-16 and F/A-18F, as well as the first-ever F-117A plane made on Stealth technology. Due to its 'secrecy,' the plane takes off from a secret base and flies above the air show. Strategic bombers B-52 and B-1B can be seen only in the skies too.

An Arab company announced the purchasing of 13 Boeing 777 liners on the first day of the show. The transaction is worth three billion dollars, but Arab businessmen dream about the perspective Boeing 7E7 plane called Dreamliner.

The European concern EADS believes the Dreamliner will not be competitive on the market. Furthermore, the world's leading manufacturers accuse each other of dishonest financial games. Boeing says, the EU governments illegally subsidize the production of airbuses. In its turn, EADS affirms the American aviation giant gains profit from defense companies. It is possible the American company will pull out of certain contracts and the sides will address to the WTO. It is likely to happen, if Europeans leave Americans behind again in terms of plane sales as it happened last year. However, experts say European manufacturers will not let the trade war develop with the USA.

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Author`s name Olga Savka