Arms Exporter Blames Britain for Farnborough Jet Boycott
State arms export agency Rosoboronexport on Wednesday criticized Britain for refusing to safeguard Russian jets at the Farnborough Air Show against possible seizure by a Swiss trading company.
Russian makers of Sukhoi and MiG fighters have decided to leave their aircraft at home, fearing a repeat of the last year`s embarrassment at France`s Le Bourget air show when Noga attempted to impound Su-30 and MiG-AT jets.
``The show will suffer from the loss of the Russian planes,`` Rosoboronexport deputy general director Viktor Komardin told reporters. ``I feel sorry for the organizers,`` he said.
Without the fighters there will be a significant drop in public interest and returns from the show, Komardin said. ``Our fighters are a circus on wings,`` he added.
Noga says the Russian government owes more than $60 million from oil-for-food deliveries in the early 1990s. The company had managed to impound a sailing ship and freeze Russian bank accounts. The government successfully appealed both cases.
Komardin said Rosoboronexport asked the organizers of the show in June whether the British government would deny requests by Noga to impound Russian property, but got no guarantees.
The Russian delegation was planning to show Sukhoi`s Su-30MK jet and the modernized MiG-29MRCA jet.
Russian aircraft makers will display aircraft models, posters, helicopter simulators and other materials and will focus on modernizing aircraft delivered earlier to Central and Eastern Europe.
Lindsey Hart, spokeswoman for the Society of British Aerospace Companies, which organizes the show, said that ``not having the Russians does not mean that we've got limited aircraft flying in the display.``
Komardin said the Russian exhibitors will not lose out on valuable export markets.
``We don`t stand a chance of selling our aircraft in Western Europe,`` said Komardin, adding, however, that participating in the show is important for the aviation companies to demonstrate achievements in their modernization efforts to aviation professionals.
By Lyuba Pronina /Moscow Times/AVIA.RU - Информационное агентство "Российская авиация и космонавтика"