Putin to discuss joint aircraft projects in China - newspaper

The joint design of a long-haul wide-body aircraft and the production of Mil Mi-26 heavy helicopters in China will be the top priority military-technological cooperation areas discussed during the Chinese visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, newspaper Kommersant said on Monday.

The joint design of a long-haul wide-body aircraft and the production of Mil Mi-26 heavy helicopters in China will be the top priority military-technological cooperation areas discussed during the Chinese visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, newspaper Kommersant said on Monday.

The newspaper quoted sources in the Russian delegation and said Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) had drawn up a sketch project and a feasibility study of the prospective long-haul wide-body jet.

"This project is supposed to be a rival for U.S. and European aircraft, and China is interested in building at least 1,000 jets. If the project is successful we may set up a joint venture at some point to compete full-scale against Airbus and Boeing. We are prepared to buy these aircraft for domestic needs, as well," a source told Kommersant.

The second project will yield a heavy helicopter for Chinese military and civilian structures.

"We offered them to buy Mil Mi-26 helicopters but our partners declined that option. They wished to design a helicopter capable of transporting up to 15 tonnes of cargo, so we suggested a concept of profound modernization of the Mi-26 and expressed readiness to start from scratch and to provide exclusive customization," the source continued.

According to the newspaper, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Russian Helicopters head Alexander Mikheyev are going to China today to discuss the issue before a meeting of the two chiefs of state.

"We are ready to transfer some technologies within the framework of joint ventures, because prototypes will be built on parity terms and under our control," the source told Kommersant.

A source close to the Federal Service for Military-Technological Cooperation told the newspaper Beijing procured more than $1.8 billion worth of Russian armaments and military hardware in 2013 and ranked fourth amongst buyers of Russian military products.

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