Following is the text of the interview to Itar-Tass of Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation Konstantin Biryulin, head of the Russian delegation at the Avalon Airshow.
- What is your opinion of Avalon Airshow?
- As any other exhibition, Avalon Airshow is a source of information for potential buyers about offers of companies from different states. Our participation in this airshow is quite important to us, because we are in search for ways to enter the Australian arms market, so regular displays of Russian capabilities here could help achieve this goal and give an impetus to develop mutually beneficial partnership between our countries in the political, trade and economic areas.
- It is not your first participation in Avalon. What are the most interesting features of the current airshow?
- Indeed, Russia resumed its participation in the exhibition in 2011, after a decade's break. I should say the Australians showed a great deal of interest at that time.
Our country was represented by Vertolyoty Rossii OAO, which demonstrated its multi-purpose civil helicopter capabilities. Potential partners displayed an interest in Russian offers, which outlined our cooperation opportunities.
The results of the exhibition showed that despite the dominating presence of western companies, first of all, the USA, as long there is a clear aim in the efforts, Russia could establish cooperation with Australian companies in different business areas, and this cooperation could involve not only supplies of products, but also exchange of technologies. Considering the impressive plan to re-equip the Australian armed forces, with annual investments of 11 billion US dollars, we hope, among other things, to establish military and technical cooperation with Australia in the future.
To capitalise on positive experience and encourage mutually beneficial partnership in this area, Russia expanded the format of its participation in the Avalon airshow this year.
Along with Vertolyoty Rossii OAO, which already made its appearance in the Australian market, Obyedinyonnaya Aviastroitelnaya Korporatsiya (United Aircraft Corporation) has displaed an interest in the show, and will present its latest model, a multi-role fifth generation fighter, as well as civil aircraft for transportation of passengers and firefighting – Sukhoi Superjet 100 short-range passenger plane and Be-200 amphibious aircraft. They are well marketable in the region.
Our companies will take part in the business agenda, including the "round table," to make a presentation of their products for Australian aircraft builders.
- What objectives are set for the Russian delegation at Avalon-2013 Airshow?
- As I already said, the key objective is to expand into the Australian market and develop mutually beneficial partnership between our countries in different areas.
To this end, the Russian delegation, along with our display at Avalon-2013, will continue the efforts initiated in 2011 to establish contacts with representatives of Australian business and military circles during scheduled meetings.
- What Russian hardware is the most marketable in Asia Pacific countries?
- Depending on the requirements of a specific country, we can offer a wide range of arms: from small arms to illumination systems.
The most marketable products could be patrol ships, engineering systems, and radar systems to name but a few. The requirements of armed forces of each country can determine preferences in decision-making on military hardware.
- What is the outlook for cooperation with Australia and APR countries?
- In terms of military and technical cooperation with Russia, APR countries are divided into three groups. The first group comprises the countries, which have established regular long-term military cooperation with a substantial amount of contracts, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanma. The second group includes Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Singapore, known for insignificant military cooperation. The third group represents the states, with which cooperation does not exist at all (Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Maldives, Brunei, Nepal, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea). There are objective reasons (shortage of funds), and pro-western orientation which affects the decision on the purchase of arms.
To further develop medium-term military cooperation with APR countries, Russian military hardware suppliers should pool their efforts to strengthen their own positions in the markets of traditional partners, and promote domestic products in the countries referred to as the third group.
In order to achieve these objectives, it is necessary to foster new mutual relations with foreign partners, which means transition from the "seller-buyer" pattern to joint development of hi-tech armaments and military equipment, introduction of new sophisticated forms of military and economic cooperation which is more focused on interests of foreign partners in developing their own defence capabilities, including not only sales of weapons, but also sales of technologies, launching licensed production of armaments and military deuiqpment in foreign states and joint participation therein, joint sales of military hardware in in the markets of third countries, opening joint maintenance centres, running joint or customized R&D, lease of arms, and other advanced forms of cooperation.
The airshow will run for six days. More than 575 companies from 23 countries will display their products. The airshow organizers expect some 200,000 visitors, including 40,000 official representatives of foreign governments, business persons and specialists in aircraft building and military equipment.