From Russia with love

Exchange of technology between Russia and the West is opening up new horizons in the aerospace industry

By Sujata Rao
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- (Credit: Sanjay ghosh)aerospace , once perceived as the frontier of us -Russian competition, is fast emerging as one of the most fruitful areas of cooperation between the former ideological enemies.

Representatives of Russian and foreign companies participating in the recently concluded air show in Moscow, shared the view that cooperation -- not confrontation -- is the mantra for the future of the international aerospace industry. The large number of us -Russian joint projects inaugurated during the show and in the past two years are ample evidence of this trend, which seeks to marry the best of Russian and us technologies, they said.

The best example is the agreement between Russian rocket engine company Energomash and Pratt & Whitney of the us to market the former's rd -180 liquid fuel engine -- considered to be the most sophisticated of its kind -- to potential buyers in the West. At the Paris air show in June, the project landed us $1 billion in orders from us aerospace giant Lockheed Martin for launching commercial satellites into orbit. And if Lockheed wins a us government tender in 1998, the engines that blasted Yury Gagarin's Vostok into space and put the Soviet Union ahead of the us in the space race, could soon be launching satellites for the us National Aeronautics and Space Administration (nasa).

Buying Energomash engines spelled savings for Lockheed, said Lockheed Martin vice president John Karas in an interview. It would take us researchers five years and billions of dollars in research money to develop similar technology, he added.

On the other hand, the European Union (eu) -- apprehensive of Russia's growing ties with us aerospace corporations -- is also putting out its feelers in Russia. Theodore Benien, spokesperson for Germany's Daimler-Benz Aerospace, said Russia is particularly important to Europe's aerospace sector as a counterbalance to the giant corporations that have emerged in the us . The eu is actively promoting the creation of a European-Russian aviation centre.

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