Written by Roman Azanov; Originally appeared at TASS, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront
The Dubai airshow has been held since 1986 and is considered one of the most representative of international events in its field. This year more than 1200 companies and 87 thousand specialists attended from more than 70 countries. In addition to the state corporation “Rostech” and special exporter “Rosoboronexport”, eight leading defence holdings producing arms and military equipment for aviation, air defence and electronic warfare presented their military products at the Russian exhibit.
The countries of the Middle East are most interested in aviation equipment and air defence. Their share, according to the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), accounts for about 40% of the total volume of orders. “Over the past five years, the volume of military products exports to the region is over two billion dollars a year and accounts for 10 to 20% of total exports,” said the Director of the FSMTC Dmitri Shugaev on the opening day of Dubai Airshow 2019.
Russia markets to the Middle East market almost the entire range of combat aircraft and air defence. However this year, civilian products were of particular interest.
The key Russian premiere of the air show is the Mi-38 helicopter, which the Russian Helicopters holding (part of the state corporation “Rostech”) presented abroad for the first time. The machine with a high-comfort cabin was not only demonstrated on the ground, but also took part in the flight programme.
Interest in it has already been shown in the UAE. The head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov showed the Mi-38 helicopter to the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan. “In my opinion, taking into account the fact that the Emirates are shareholders of Russian Helicopters and are interested in the development of helicopters according to the assets in which they participate, I think that the helicopter has a good chance to land on Emirati soil and continue to talk about other countries of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East”, the Minister said.
В ходе #DubaiAirshow2019 Денис Мантуров показал Наследному принцу Абу-Даби Мухаммеду Бен Заеду Аль Нахайяну новый Ми-38…
It became known that Russian Helicopters will start serial production of this machine in the course of the air show. The Kazan Helicopter Plant (KHP) received a manufacturer’s certificate from the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia). The first Mi-38 will be delivered to the domestic customer by end of 2019. “The certificate confirms that KHP is ready for serial deliveries of helicopters of this type for both commercial operators and government customers”, said Yuri Pustovgarov Managing Director of the KHP.
The Mi-38 is a universal helicopter that can be used for transporting passengers (including VIPs), cargo, search and rescue and medical work. I am sure that the high technical characteristics and competitive price will ensure interest in the helicopter among our partners from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin American and Africa
General Manager of Rostech
The design of the Mi-38 has a number of innovations: improved aerodynamic contours of the fuselage and streamlining of the propulsion system, protection of the main rotor sleeve and the swash plate. Instead of the traditional placement of engines in front of the main gearbox, for the first time in the domestic helicopter industry, a scheme with a “rear” location has been implemented. According to the developers, this allowed to reduce the aerodynamic drag and noise level in the cabin, as well as improve the safety of the machine.
In addition to the Mi-38, the “Ansat” light helicopter made its debut in the Middle East. The machine in the corporate model (the presented configuration can carry up to five passengers) also took part in the flight programme of the exhibition.
New market niche
According to Andrei Boginsky, the head of Russian Helicopters, the UAE is dynamically developing in the direction of urban mobility, so in addition to flying prototypes, the VRT300 drone was presented at the holding stand, and at the joint exhibition with the Emirati holding Tawazun, a model of the VRT500 light single-engine helicopter with a coaxial arrangement of screws.
VR-Technologies (this company is engaged in the development of advanced helicopters and drones) will produce a prototype VRT500 by the second half of 2020. The machine will receive a PW207V gas turbine engine from Pratt & Whitney Canada. It can also be produced in passenger, multi-purpose, cargo, training, VIP and medical evacuation versions. According to the developers, in its segment it will be the world’s first medical helicopter with the ability to load and unload united medical equipment through the rear doors of the cabin.
The developer has signed a dealership agreement with Sweden’s Rotocraft Nordic AB to deliver ten VRT500 light helicopters in basic configuration in 2023.
Russian Helicopters is entering the international market in a new niche – light single-engine civil helicopters. The VRT500 project is certainly competitive and of great interest to foreign customers
General Manager of Rostech
As for the VRT300 unmanned helicopter, it is being developed in a cargo version and in a version for monitoring and remote sensing of earth or water surface. The device will also be equipped with precise automatic landing systems on ships.
It became known that the Emirati holding Tawazun will acquire 50% of shares in the company VR-Technologies, the financial parameters of the agreement were not disclosed, it is planned to close the deal in the first quarter of next year. The joint investment in the development of the company will amount to about €400 million. The document was signed at the Dubai Airshow 2019.
According to the head of Rostech, Middle Eastern investors “will accelerate the implementation of VRT300 and CRT500 projects and give impetus to new developments of advanced helicopter and unmanned systems”. “Our agreements also provide for assistance in promoting these products in the markets of the Middle East and, in particular, the Persian Gulf. Both machines have good prospects in the region, where solutions for development of urban air mobility are becoming increasingly popular”, he said. The UAE considers the use of this technique primarily as an Uber-taxi from Dubai airport.
By the way, this is not the first experience of cooperation between the Emirati holding and Russia. Tawazun already owns 36% in the Russian car project Aurus.
Interest in the Yak-130
The Irkut Corporation (part of the United Aircraft Corporation, UAC) brought a full-scale prototype of the Yak-130 combat training aircraft, which also made its debut in the skies of Dubai. But not only this fact has attracted the attention of all the world’s media. At the Dubai Airshow 2019, it was officially announced that UAC has begun a deep modernisation of this machine, which will result in the aircraft becoming largely combat-ready.
Российский Як-130 успешно дебютировал на крупнейшем авиасалоне мира Dubai Airshow 2019.Эпипаж в составе летчика-испытателя Василия Севастьянова и штурмана-испытателя Сергея Кудряшова показывают фигуры высшего пилотажа: «колокол», «бочку», «поворот на горке», перевернутый полет и другие. В день открытия авиасалона генеральный директор #ОАК Юрий Слюсарь рассказал о начавшейся глубокой модернизации Як-130 в целях расширения боевых возможностей самолета и о возможности его кастомизации, в частности, под потребности заказчиков на Ближнем Востоке.#DAS19
Posted by ОАК – Объединенная авиастроительная корпорация on Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Here we present the beginning of the project of its deep modernisation, we significantly expand its combat capabilities. It becomes not just a combat training aircraft, but to a large extent a combat aircraft. Its training function is also enhanced: it is able to provide pilot training for fourth and fifth generation aircraft
Head of UAC
According to him, the Yak-130 will be able to perform a large number of tasks. Moreover, it can be adapted to the customer and the region of application. “We have customised these increased combat capabilities just for those customers here in the Middle East, taking into account the tasks that they have to solve here”, the head of the UAC said. In particular, the Yak-130 on the ground exhibition showed the range of aircraft weapons: air-to-air guided missiles, blocks of unguided missiles of various calibres, electronic warfare containers, as well as a suspended container with a 30mm double-barrelled air cannon.
The Yak-130 is already being delivered to Bangladesh, Myanmar and Laos. There is interest on the part of Malaysia.
It became known as well that Russia has received the first applications from foreign customers for an export version of the Su-34 fighter-bomber, a prototype of which was also demonstrated at the Russian exhibit.
“Remedy” for drones
In addition to novelties in the aircraft and helicopter industry, Rostech Holdings presented the latest Russian systems for combating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other means of air attack.
Along with well-known air defence systems, electronic warfare equipment was demonstrated on various carriers, including highly mobile complexes “Peregrine-Snipe”, “Border-Automation”, “Dome” and “Pischal”. These developments can be successfully used to protect military and industrial facilities, civil infrastructure from drones.
“Such systems are able to detect drones of different dimensions, identify them, intercept control and effectively disable drones. The demand for these products in the world is extremely high, in the next five years it is estimated at $2 billion”, said the head of Rosetch Sergei Chemezov. Low cost, availability and ease of management make UAVs one of the most effective means of achieving the goals.
The echeloned zone-object of radio-electronic counteraction to small-sized UAVs depending on needs of the customer can include a set of the elements differing on radius of action, mobility and characteristics of the covered objects or territories. Zonal cover of territories is provided by the electronic warfare system “Repellent”.
“Rosoboronexport has created a two-level concept of combating drones, which includes both electronic countermeasures of UAVs and weapons of destruction”, said TASS CEO Aleksandr Mikheev during the air show.
Earlier it was reported that Saudi Arabia was interested in acquiring Russian electronic warfare systems and the air defence systems “Tor” and “Pantsir” after the drone attack on the Kingdom’s oil facilities in September this year.
Under the “Pantsir’s” cover
Rosoboronexport presented at the exhibition the fifth-generation Su-57E fighter in a model form, upgraded Mi-28NE and Mi-171SH helicopters, as well as air defence equipment, including an upgraded version of the Pantsir-S1M anti-aircraft missile and gun system. Perhaps, special attention was paid to it not only because it is a highly effective means to combat drones, but also because these complexes ensure the safety of the air show.
“Yes”, said Abdullah al-Hashmi, Assistant Deputy Minister of Defence of the UAE, when asked whether the “Pantsir”, previously supplied to the Emirates, are being used to guard the Dubai Airshow 2019. According to him, the Armed Forces of the country are satisfied with it.
It’s a good system. For those demands, under which it is made, and for distances, on which it works, “Pantsir” is quite good
Abdullah al-Hashmi, Assistant Deputy Minister of Defence of the UAE, Major General
In total, in the period from 2009 to 2013, Russia delivered 50 Pantsir-S1 complexes to the Arab country in export version (on the chassis of the Man SX45 truck) and 1000 missiles for them. Upgrades of these complexes is also being discussed with the UAE.
The Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy of Rostech Viktor Kladov told TASS that the selection of Pantsirs to ensure “safe skies for flights at one of the key air shows of the world” is “another confirmation of the advantages of our air defence systems and Russian weapons in general”. It became known that Russia has received more than 15 applications for the purchase of Pantsir complexes, including several from the Middle East.
A total of 165 different aircraft were demonstrated at the Dubai Airshow 2019 outdoor venue. The scale of the Dubai air show is growing from year to year.