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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, Europe Sign Pact on Arms

Europe and Russia agreed to boost defense industry cooperation in a protocol signed Tuesday by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co., or EADS, together with state-owned arms selling agency Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi Corp.

The three companies agreed to work jointly to develop future defense systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology. There is also the possibility for EADS's MBDA missile systems to be installed in Sukhoi fighter jets, the joint statement said, as well as cooperative servicing deals and aircraft upgrades.

The agreement was inked during the Paris Air Show, a major biannual event for the aviation industry.

"This agreement is an important move in our strategy to further develop the EADS defense business globally," EADS CEO Phillipe Camus said in the statement.

Sukhoi chief Mikhail Pogosyan said that the protocol will help combine the strengths of two world leaders, through working groups assembled to oversee cooperation.

EADS spokesman Gregor Kursell said by telephone from Le Bourget, where the show is taking place, that Tuesday's protocol is in line with a framework agreement worth some $2 billion that EADS signed with the Russian Aviation and Space Agency, or Rosaviakosmos, in 2001.

Within that agreement, Airbus, which is 80 percent owned by EADS, earlier this month opened an engineering center in Moscow with domestic industrial group Kaskol.

EADS has also offered Nizhny Novgorod's Hydromash plant the chance to make undercarriages for Europe's A400M military transport craft, of which some 180 will be built for seven NATO nations.

"The agreement is important for Sukhoi to help it understand its prospective place on the international market," Alexander Klimentyev, Sukhoi deputy general director, said in a telephone interview from Le Bourget.

"[EADS] is reaching out to us," Klimentyev said.

Sukhoi's Pogosyan has said that UAVs are one of this year's priorities.

Maxim Pyadushkin, an expert with Moscow's Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said UAV development is still in the blue print stage for Sukhoi, so cooperation with EADS will benefit both parties.

He added that Sukhoi upgrade projects will most likely involve jets flown by East European countries needing to raise their fleets to NATO standards.

"EADS already works with MiG on upgrades," he said. "Now it has extended this work to Sukhoi."