Want to Take It For a Spin? Putin Offers Erdogan a Brand New Russian Jet
Today's main event is, of course, the opening of the MAKS Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky outside Moscow. There are over 800 companies from 30 countries, the exposition space takes up over 72,000 sq. m (775,000 sq. feet), several newly developed pieces of aviation breakthroughs were presented, including the Russian-made MC-21 medium-haul aircraft. This year, MAKS has also become a place for negotiations on the highest level. Vladimir Putin flew to MAKS to open it together with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The leaders were introduced to samples of cutting-edge civilian and military equipment, including the fifth-generation Su-57 jet fighter. This is the very aircraft that is capable of replacing the F-35, which the Americans don't want to sell to Turkey. Of course, the politicians held bilateral negotiations.
Our observer Dmitry Petrov covers the first day at MAKS.
This is an air show that shows the way planes and helicopters will transform in the decades to come. Special attention is being given to some promising areas. The presidents of Russia and Turkey are leading the opening ceremony of MAKS-2019.
— How are you doing, Mr. President?
Vladimir Putin: «Great! Even better since I got here. I think it'll be both interesting and worthwhile. A good occasion to meet and talk».
Today is the first day of the air show. MAKS is opening its doors to professionals: aviation experts and business representatives. Vladimir Putin and Erdoğan are giving them a welcome address.
Vladimir Putin: «I'm sure that all of our partners from abroad and, of course, our Turkish friends, the Turkish delegation, will be interested to see the achievements of the Russian aviation industry and the next generation technical capabilities of the Russian Aerospace Forces. We deeply appreciate the interest in the Russian air show. We regard it as an acknowledgment of the tremendous intellectual, scientific, technical, and export potential of our country, its unique traditions of aircraft building that enable Russia to ensure its position among the world's flagships of the air and space industry. We realize that the perspectives of aircraft building largely depend on wide international cooperation, on close cooperation between the efforts of our designers and the research of our scientists, and the efficient usage of our industrial power. We're interested in seeing MAKS strengthen its position as a prestigious venue for business communication, the exchange of ideas, and the signing of mutually profitable contracts».
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: «My dear friend, Mr. Putin, dear participants, I'm very pleased to be here. We consider the MAKS Aviation Salon to be one of its kind. We believe that our cooperation with Russia will give a new incentive to the development of both aviation and space technologies».
For example, the Turkish president was interested in an opportunity to purchase the Su-57 fighter, which is a really pressing matter for Ankara after the USA's threats not to sell Turkey its F-35s on the ground of Turkey buying our S-400 missile systems.
Right on the static exposition, Vladimir Putin, together with his Turkish counterpart, mounted the stairs to the Su-57 to talk to the test pilot. They are accompanied by the managers of the United Aircraft Corporation and corresponding ministers. It's like a briefing out of the office. The test pilot is describing the specifics of the new generation hardware in detail.
— Why are you so nervous?
— He's used to doing different work.
The conversation that took place here was made out against a noisy background only by correspondents of news agencies. Erdoğan jokingly asked Putin if the aircraft was already airworthy and whether it was for sale. Putin's answer was, «It can fly and it's for sale.» Just a few minutes on, Erdoğan was able to see the Su-57 at work when the air show started.
These are cutting-edge aircraft designed by the Sukhoi United Aircraft Bureau. Six fighter jets, headed by the Hero of Russia Sergey Bogdan, are flying over the airfield together first. By the way, it was Bogdan who taught the Su-57 how to fly. Then, they split. Two jets: a Su-34 and a Su-35, move aside. Four Su-57s remain in the sky. They demonstrate aerial acrobatics, the loop.
Today, for the first time, the Su-57 was presented to the general public. You can come up to it, touch it and see it in detail. The first thing that strikes you is that, unlike its predecessors, its weaponry is hidden in compartments. Everything was done to reduce its visibility. The first batch is to be delivered to the military this year. And before the end of 2027, the Air Force will receive 76 fighters jets of this type. A thrust-vectoring module and hypersonic cruising speed are advantages that make it invincible in air-to-air combat.
Later on, during the press conference, Vladimir Putin once again evokes the matter of possibly exporting our cutting-edge fighter jets abroad.
Vladimir Putin: «We talked about working together on the 4++ generation Su-35 fighter as well as about possible cooperation on the new Su-57 aircraft. We have plenty of capabilities, we have demonstrated new weapon systems and new electronic warfare systems. I think that many of these things caught the eye of our Turkish partners, not only when it comes to purchases but also concerning joint production».
The flight of the MC-21 airliner invokes just as much excitement. It's unusual when a multi-ton machine that is not usually built for extreme maneuvers easily makes a 60-degree banking maneuver and then gains altitude in what was practically a vertical line. There are no aerodynamics issues in the MC-21. Using composite materials helped lower the takeoff weight. The fuselage, which is a little wider than that of competitors', offers more comfort to the passengers.
Well, there are also new Russian helicopters. It won't be an exaggeration to say it's a real breakthrough. Almost every year, the market sees an introduction of several new types and modifications. Putin and Erdoğan are examining a Mi-38 transport helicopter. It's much more spacious than its predecessor, the Mi-8, and much more comfortable. The versatile K-62 gives a start to a whole new family of helicopters.This booth features a real aerial limousine. It's a helicopter whose cabin is no less comfortable than that of the Aurus Senat.
“The price is eight million dollars but the car is given as a bonus.”
The presidents make a stop at the models of drones to discuss tactics and technical characteristics.
— What's its ceiling?
— The altitude is 18 km (11 miles). And the range is 6,000 km (3,700 miles).
And this is, if you will, a trip ten years into the future. MAKS features a model of the upcoming long-range, wide-body CR-929, which was produced jointly by Russia and China. It's still being projected. The guests are examining both the cockpit and the cabin. The Turkish president found the economy class to be too cramped. But Putin explained to him that the space in between chairs during long-range flights will be increased for the comfort of the passengers.
The crew of the International Space Station also had a job to do at MAKS today. Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov were summoned for a live call. They're talking about today's docking of the robot FEDOR with the Soyuz.
Vladimir Putin: “My dear friends, we'd like to greet you and congratulate you on the results of today's task. We know that you had a bit of an emergency situation. But, as our cosmonauts usually do, You did your job brilliantly. I hope that, further on, you'll be firing on all cylinders. But the success of our work hugely relies on such high-grade specialist as you. I hope that FEDOR will also give you the help and support you need in your very serious, important, and interesting work that is so essential for all of us.”
Winding up the examination of the MAKS exposition, Putin treated the Turkish delegation with ice cream, as he has already done several times.
— I want this one.
— Chocolate or vanilla?
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:
— Will you buy me one too?
— Of course, I will. You're my guest.
— Ah? 210? Give the change to the minister. He needs it for the development of aviation.
— Thank you for your generosity.
— Well, it's good.
— Sweet vanilla and chocolate ice-cream.
However, in the end, they decided to spend the change to get more ice-cream for the whole delegation. But even in such an informal situation, they keep discussing important issues. Again, they bring up the subject of supply of Russian weaponry to the Turkish Republic, specifically S-400 systems.
Vladimir Putin: “Today, another delivery is due.”
This contract was also discussed by the presidents during the final press conference.
Vladimir Putin: “We benefited from Mr. Erdoğan's visit to MAKS by discussing, among other things, some prospective joint projects, for one, the implementation of the S-400 Triumph missile system contract.”
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “The second stage of the supply of S-400s is underway, it'll continue until the end of September. At the same time, we'll continue training personnel. We'd like to spread this kind of cooperation to the remaining parts of the defense industry.”
Meanwhile, MAKS-2019 is gaining momentum. On Wednesday and Thursday, aircraft building experts are expected here, while on Friday, all aviation fans are welcome to attend.
Dmitry Petrov, Ilya Bayev, Alexey Karpukhin, and Andrey Sorokin, Vesti, Zhukovsky, Moscow Oblast.