Russia's Sukhoi to become fourth largest fighter jet maker
Russia's Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer will rank fourth globally in terms of fighter plane production up to 2012, the company's press service said on Monday, citing a market researcher. Forecast International, which specializes in defense market research and consulting, said that in 2008-2012 the world leader will be Lockheed Martin with 346 fighters (23.9%) followed by Eurofighter with 290 (20%), China's Chengdu Aircraft with 228 (15.7%), Sukhoi with 177 (12.2%) and Boeing with 159 (11%). Sukhoi, which is part of Russia's United Aircraft Building Corporation (UABC), is the country's largest aircraft exporter. The company trades in ready machinery, spare parts and assemblies, and carries out repairs and upgrades on previously sold models.
Putin to bring arms contracts worth $3 bln to Libya - paper
Russia has prepared arms contracts worth $3 billion for outgoing president Vladimir Putin's visit to Libya this week, a business daily said on Tuesday citing defense and aircraft industry officials. The Kremlin said on Monday Putin would visit the oil and gas-rich north African state on April 16-17 at the invitation of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, giving no details of the agenda. Vedomosti said citing a Defense Ministry official that Russia wants to sell 12 of the latest Su-35 Flanker multi-role fighter and Tor-M2E short-range missile systems, and to offer spare parts and maintenance services for Soviet-era military hardware. An aircraft industry source quoted by the daily confirmed the deal has almost been prepared, but added the majority of contracts could only be initialed in Libya as the two countries have failed to reach an agreement on the African state's Soviet-era debt, which Russia earlier put at about $3.5 billion. Tripoli said in the 1990s that Russia also had an outstanding debt to Libya. But a Russian government official told Vedomosti the debt dispute could be resolved and the arms contracts signed during Putin's visit as Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and Rosoboronexport chief Anatoly Isaikin will both accompany the outgoing leader. Russia's state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, denied comment on the planned arms deals, the paper said adding Libya's embassy in Moscow had also made no comment. In the arms market, Russia has encountered tough competition with Western nations since the UN lifted sanctions against Libya in 2003, after Qaddafi announced he would halt the country's nuclear weapons program and later accepted responsibility for the 1998 terrorist bombing over Lockerbie in Scotland, agreeing to pay compensation to the victims' families. France is anxious to sell Tripoli 18 Rafale fighter aircraft worth 2.5 billion euros (about $4 billion). The visit to Libya could be Putin's last foreign trip as president after he steps down in May to give way to his protege, Dmitry Medvedev. Putin will stay on as premier.
Brazil, Russia to build jet fighter
Brazil and Russia signed an agreement on Tuesday to jointly develop top-line jet fighters and satellite launch vehicles. Brazil's Strategic Affairs Minister Roberto Mangabeira Unger told reporters the agreement will lead to the development of fifth-generation jet fighters that are built using sophisticated engineering, such as composite materials, stealth technology and advanced radar. The agreement signed by Unger and the deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council, Valentin Sobolev, includes the construction of rockets capable of hurling several kinds of satellites into space. Brazil builds its own small and medium-size rockets that are launched from the Alcantara base in the northeastern state of Maranhao. The base is considered an excellent launch site because it is located just 2.3 degrees south of the equator, the line at which the Earth moves the fastest, helping propel rockets into space with less fuel. Tuesday's agreement calls for advanced training in the field of cybernetics, which Mangabeira called "essential for the defense and the technological evolution of our industry." It also involves the transfer of technology, something Brazil has always insisted on. Earlier this year, France aid it would transfer technology to the Brazil for construction of the Scorpene attack submarine, helicopters and the Rafale fighter plane. The Scorpene is a conventional attack submarine, but Brazilian officials have said they want the diesel-powered vessel to serve as a model for the development of a nuclear submarine that would be the first in Latin America. University of Brasilia political scientist David Fleischer said the agreement may not advance very far because Russia may limit the transfer of technology for the fighter jets. "The problem is that the Russians have never been all that keen on technology transfer," Fleischer said. "But then again the Russians may want to beat out the French, so the deal could eventually go through." "A deal with Russia, together with Venezuela's recent purchases of Russian weapons, could spark an arms race in South America," Fleischer added. Venezuela recently bought 53 Russian-made attack helicopters, 100,000 assault rifles, 24 Sukhoi fighter jets, 12 military transport planes and 5,000 sniper rifles.