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Iron-Eagles Military Aviation Newsletter Issue #4

Issue #4

The Military Aviation Weekly Newsletter
 
May 28, 2002   Keeping you up-to-date every single week!
'Russia to continue to be India's main defence partner'

Josy Joseph in New Delhi Despite the spurt in defence co-operation between New Delhi and Washington, Russian companies will continue to be the biggest suppliers of military wares to India, according to the president of a consortium of Russian aviation companies and design bureaux. Cheaper production cost, cutting edge technology and the traditional ties between New Delhi and Moscow will ensure that Russia continues to be the biggest supplier of defence wares in the future, Alexey I Fedorov, the president of Irkutsk Aviation Industrial Association, which produces Sukhoi fighter jets, said. "Of course, the US is a very, very strong competitor. But we try to be the best, and we are traditional partners of India," he said. Fedorov said the licensed production in India of 140 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters is expected to begin in 2004 after Russia transfers technology, supplies raw material, and provides support technicians. The production will be undertaken at the Nasik facility of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, he said. The Sukhoi fighters will incorporate Indian software in avionics, besides other components developed by Indian companies, he said. The supersonic cruise missile Brahmos, which is being jointly developed by Russia and India, "could be used in Sukhoi if the Indian Air Force wants. It can be installed," Fedorov said. Joint marketing of the Sukhoi-30 MKI in international market can also be explored, but India will have to seek special permission from the Russian government, he said. It is time for Russian and Indian companies to collaborate and compete in the international aviation market, he said, adding that such collaborations are possible because the two countries are "close politically and technologically". Fedorov also offered to upgrade India's fleet of Mi-17 and 35 helicopters with better avionics, night vision etc. However, there is no move for such an upgradation from Indian side.

Boeing signs huge defense contract with South Korea
SEOUL, South Korea (April 19, 2002 1:23 p.m. EDT) - Boeing Co. won a $4.5 billion contract Friday to build 40 F-15K fighter jets for South Korea's air force, the country's defense ministry said. Boeing's F-15K beat out the Rafale made by French firm Dassault in the competition to build a fleet of new jets for the South Korean air force by 2009, the ministry said in a news release. General Electric Co. will build the engines for the Boeing jets, it said. The Russian Sukhoi Su-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon were also vying for the project. Both were eliminated in a first round of bidding last month. The Su-35 was the cheapest plane to buy and maintain, and the Rafale deal offered the most generous technology transfer. South Korea's defense ministry declined to disclose which plane it considered the front-runner in combat capabilities. The F-15K had been the front-runner in competition for the contract because of South Korea's close military ties with the United States. About 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, and South Korea has tried to make sure that new weapons systems are compatible with the United States' systems. The contract is a boon for Chicago-based Boeing, which last year lost the largest U.S. defense contract in history - the $200 billion Joint Strike Fighter project - to rival Lockheed Martin Corp. The F-15 is a product of Boeing's St. Louis-based Military Aircraft and Missile Systems division. But the loss of the Joint Stroke Fighter contract left the long-term future of jet fighter production in St. Louis in doubt just weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had decimated orders in the company's commercial division. Jerry Daniels, president and CEO of Boeing Military Aircraft and Missile Systems, said the contract with South Korea will sustain at least 1,000 jobs for employees now working on the F-15 program. "This is a great shot in the arm, a great boost in morale to a team that could sure use the victory at this time," Daniels said. At full production, several thousand Boeing workers staff the F-15 line in St. Louis, but - prior to the Korean decision - the company only had orders for 10 planes from the Pentagon. Those final 10 jet orders existed primarily to keep the line open while Boeing competed for the South Korean and other international business. Dassault claims that its Rafale outdid the F-15 in the first-round appraisal of combat capabilities, and has accused the defense ministry of adopting the playoff format as "a lifesaver for the U.S. competitor." "The decision is not fair," said Yves Robins, Dassault's vice president of international relations, shortly after Friday's announcement. Dassault had earlier asked a South Korean court to freeze the competition. The court had been expected to rule on the case later this month. "We will proceed with our legal action," Robins said Friday. General Electric prevailed over United Technologies Corp.'s Pratt & Whitney unit to build the engines for the F-15Ks. The contract calls for 80 engines, plus eight spares, worth a total of about $340 million. They are to be delivered beginning in 2005 and continuing through 2008, GE officials said. In midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Boeing shares were down 40 cents at $43.30 while GE shares fell 6 cents to $33.74.
 
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