12th International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2015: Demonstrations Ranging from a Giant “Flying” Axe to a Robotic Mars Rover

We have to admit that complicated international relations have affected a tone at MAKS-2015. European aerobatic flying teams were represented only by the Baltic Bees aerobatic team (Latvia) using the L-39 aircraft developed in Czechia. The main teams in the aerobatic demonstration program were ace fliers from the “Russkie Vitiazi” (Russian Knights) and “Strizhy” (Swifts) aerobatic teams.

Nonetheless, MAKS had managed to defend its status as one of the biggest international aviation salons. According to the exhibition promoters’ statistics, the exhibition in Zhukovsky had over 405,000 visitors for 6 days (an increase of around 65,000 visitors in comparison with MAKS-2014). Leading national and foreign companies took part in the exhibition, such as Rostec Corporation, JSC Rosoboronexport, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), JSC Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, PJSC United Aircraft Corporation, FSUE Central Aerodynamic Institute (TsAGI), FSUE All-Russian Institute of Aviation Materials (VIAM), European Space Agency (ESA), Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Safran Group and other companies.

A few defence contracts were signed at MAKS-2015. For example, Belarus purchased four Yak-130 training/attack aircraft in addition to four aircraft supplied in 2013. Moreover, the Belarusian armed forces will receive five Tor-M2K short-range SAM systems. This SAM modification is mounted on a chassis developed by Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant. In addition, the Concern Almaz-Antey announced that they had signed a contract to deliver the “Protivnik-G” radar station set to Belarus.

At MAKS, few profitable bargains related to the space industry were closed, including two VNIIEM Corporation’s contracts to develop Earth remote sensing satellites for Iran and Belarus. Besides, VNIIEM Corporation had an agreement with Surrey Satellite Technology (Great Britain) related to the co-development of a small satellite. An appropriate contract is expected to be signed in 2016. Rosoboronexport signed another agreement to put the Spanish PAZ satellite into orbit by means of the “Dnepr” launch vehicle by the end of 2015.

The meeting between Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) CEO Igor Komarov and ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Woerner became the most important event at MAKS-2015. Both parties signed an agreement related to cooperation in the ExoMars Program. It is planned to launch an orbiter to Mars in 2016 and a robotic Mars rover in 2018.

Moreover, the terms of lunar missions with the participation of Russia and the EU were preliminary agreed upon. Under the contract, the Luna-Globe orbiter is scheduled to be launched in late 2018 – early 2019 while the Luna-Resurs orbiter launch is planned in 2020. According to Mr. Komarov’s press statement, the Luna-Grunt mission launch schedule is to be determined.

ESA showed interest in cooperation with Russia in some other projects, for example, in the Phobos mission.

The biggest first-day agreement at MAKS was the contract between Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and the State Transport Leasing Company to deliver 32 Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger aircraft with an option to supply additional 28 aircraft. For the time being, that was the biggest order for this type of aircraft. The customer will receive jet aircraft by the end of 2017.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited MAKS-2015 where he saw a number of airplanes and helicopters developed by Russian companies and a “flying” axe made by young developers just for fun for the International Festival of Children and Youth Scientific-Technical Creativity “Off We go!”