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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Air Show Opens With Big Engine Deal

Foreign aerospace firms set up lavish stands at the International Aerospace Salon which opened in Moscow on Tuesday, competing for contracts that will let them use the cheap, skilled labor and proven designs of Russia's aerospace industry.

The biggest deal announced Tuesday involved Pratt & Whitney Canada, a subsidiary of the U. S. United Technologies Corp. , which set up a joint venture with the St. Petersburg-based engines producer Klimov Corporation to make small gas turbine engines for civil aircraft.

Gilles Ouimet, Pratt & Whitney executive vice president, told a press conference that the joint venture will produce its first engine by the end of 1994, and plans to be able to build 100 engines a year to be fitted into Russian helicopters and airplanes.

But other deals are likely to follow. As part of the military-industrial complex, the Russian aerospace industry aerospace was privileged under the Soviet regime, receiving generous investments and the best personnel.

As a result, the industry still represents one of the few opportunities Russia has to sell genuine high technology on export markets.

While interest from Western firms at the Airsalon ranged from aerodynamics design to spacecraft to military planes, one of the most promising areas is in deals like Pratt & Whitney's that involve putting foreign engines into Russian planes.

Aircraft fuselages built by the Russian firms Tupolev and Ilyushin are recognized as being among the best designed in the world, but Russian engines do not have the same reputation. Foreign firms believe that Western engines in Russian planes will be able to compete strongly on world markets.

CFM International, jointly owned by the U. S. firm General Electric and SNECMA of France and Rolls-Royce of Britain, are looking at similar projects.

But Pratt & Whitney's project will be the first in which Western engines are produced by a Russian enterprise.

"I am not aware of any other similar projects", said Alexander Sarkisov, Klimov's general designer.

Sarkisov of the Klimov factory said both major helicopter producers, Kamov and Mil will both be the customers of the new joint venture.

"This partnership is for a very long term and designed not only to serve the Russian market, but also to export", David Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Pratt & Whitney Canada told a press conference Tuesday.

Pratt & Whitney, another division of United Technologies Corp. , said it was close to signing another agreement with Perm-based engine producer Perm Motors on upgrading its engines for the Ilyushin IL-96-300 airbus.

Mark Sullivan, communications director for Pratt & Whitney said his company hopes to finalize the agreements with Perm Motors and launch the project by the end of October.

Under the project, Pratt & Whitney will upgrade the Perm Motors engines and within three years the new engines will be ready and certified for use in Russia and the United States.

Surprisingly, this engine might then replace the Pratt & Whitney engines now used on another joint Russian-U. S. project in which Pratt & Whitney installs its engines for the Ilyushin IL-96M, a wide-bodied jet that is due to come into service in 1995.

Sullivan said Pratt & Whitney was happy to see more of its production transferred to Russia.

"Our concern always was to work within the Russian aviation industry, not only supply engines to Russia. Perm seems to be the best place to begin", he said.

A preliminary agreement between Pratt & Whitney and Perm Motor was signed in June at the airspace show in Le Bourget, he said.