Russia Delivers First of 3 AWACS to India

A-50-2MOSCOW – Russia has delivered the first of three ordered A-50 Shmel (NATO code name Mainstay) early warning aircraft to India, Alexander Mikheyev, deputy head of the Russian arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport, said Aug. 19.

“Russia successfully implemented the contract to supply to India the A-50 airplanes, Russian analogs of AWACS systems,” Mikheyev told journalists at the MAKS-2009 air show outside Moscow.

The A-50, based on the Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft, is produced by the Irkut-controlled Beriev aviation plant, Taganrog, and can control up to 10 fighter aircraft.

Mikheyev also said that Vietnam signed a contract for eight Su-30MK2 fighters with Russia in January, after a “small pause of several years.”

“We started working on the contract at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur aviation plant [part of the Sukhoi company],” he said. “The contract will be executed in 2009 and in 2010.”

Mikheyev did not disclose other details about the two deals.

a50_12Meanwhile, the Russian Air Force deputy commander, Maj. Gen. Oleg Barmin, told journalists at MAKS-2009 that the military will procure more than 80 new airplanes and helicopters in 2009, in “what matches the level of procurement during the Soviet times.”

He said that under the six-year contract signed by the Defense Ministry and Sukhoi this year, new Su-34 fighter-bombers will replace the existing fleet of Su-24 attack aircraft.

Barmin said that the Russian Army began this year receiving its first Mil Mi-28N attack helicopters, Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters and Kazan Helicopter Plant’s Ansat-U training helicopters. Barmin did not specify the amounts.

Russia’s state-controlled helicopter-building holding, Russian Helicopters, said in a statement on Aug. 19 that despite the financial crisis, it doubled the number of the helicopters supplied to its clients in the first half of 2009, to 64 from 32 in the first half of 2008. In total, the holding expects to produce 220 helicopters this year, compared with 169 last year.

In 2008, Russia produced a record number of helicopters since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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