Brussels, 02 Jun 2004
In conjunction with the Berlin Air Show (ILA 2004), Russians and Europeans gathered at a major conference aimed at increasing collaboration in aeronautics research.
After nearly a century of leadership in aerospace, Russia is facing difficult times, as tough economic reforms continue to hit the sector hard. With reductions in public funding forcing researchers to look elsewhere for support, many are now seeking to capitalise on new opportunities for co-operation with global partners, including the European Union.
On 11 and 12 May 2004, as the aerial displays over Shoenefeld Airport wowed Berlin Air Show spectators, Russian and European aeronautics researchers were getting down to business, discussing ways to increase international collaboration, including Russian participation in the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The event was organised jointly by the German Aerospace Research Centre (DLR), the German Aerospace Industry Association (BDLI), Russia's Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI), and the European Commission.
In his opening remarks, the European Commission's Dietrich Knoerzer said, "We, Europe and Russia, can already be said to have enjoyed a history of collaboration, going back several decades. Currently, Russian partners are involved in a number of key projects, but we also know that great challenges lie ahead." Europe has committed itself to a number of concrete targets, in line with its strategic vision for aeronautics in the year 2020. Just one example is the reduction of aircraft CO2 emissions by 50%, but reaching this goal, said Knoerzer, will not be possible through the simple continued evolution of existing technologies. "What we need here is a quantum leap," he said, "a breakthrough that will change the face of tomorrow's aircraft."
Russian researchers, said Knoerzer, can make a major contribution to achieving this and other targets. "Looking ahead," he said, "we see many possibilities for getting more Russian organisations involved in EU research, to prepare the way, the technologies, for the next generation of aircraft."
TsAGI Director Vladimir Dmitriev said that, while its research priorities have changed, the Russian aerospace sector has remained steadfast in its drive towards scientific and technical excellence. "Ensuring flight safety has always been and remains our top priority," he said, "but world concerns about the environment and citizens' welfare have also pushed these priorities to the forefront.
"Russian aerospace is well equipped to meet any new demands and we have already helped to achieve numerous advances in aerodynamic and fuel efficiency. After several years of difficult adjustments, making our industry competitive is now a key priority. There is certainly a great amount of overlap between the European 'Vision 2020' and our own strategic vision for the year 2015, and we see many areas of possible collaboration with our European partners."
On the agenda
The 'Merging the efforts' conference featured presentations by leading lights from both European and Russian aerospace. Discussions highlighted opportunities for co-operation, focusing on the aims of FP6. Attendees included representatives of major European and Russian aeronautics players, including – from Europe – Snecma, Airbus, EREA and DLR, and – from Russia – VIAM, TsAGI, CIAM and GosNIIAS.
Who's who in Russian aeronautics research
The Central Institute of Aviation Motors is the only Russian research establishment engaged in the integrated study and development of aeroengines. Activities range from the study of basic physical processes to participation with industrial organisations in the manufacture, upgrading and certification of new engines.
The State Research Institute of Aviation Systems develops integrated avionics and flight and navigation systems for combat and commercial aircraft, including helicopters.
The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute was founded in 1918 under the initiative and leadership of N. E. Zhukovsky, the father of Russian aviation. Today's TsAGI is the largest scientific research centre in the world, combining basic studies, applied research, structural design, pilot production and testing.
The Institute of Aviation Materials, founded in 1932, carries out fundamental and applied research in a variety of materials-related areas. VIAM has concluded more than 60 contracts with leading non-Russian companies.
Organisers called the event a "rousing success", with new ideas coming from both sides and concrete opportunities being identified in several specific areas, including:
- Structures and materials
- Engine and environment
- Equipment and ATM
"In a short while," said Knoerzer, "we will have the results of the second FP6 call for proposals. We are hoping to see an even greater number of Russian participants in future calls. In the meantime we will maintain our strong ties and continue to forge new partnerships."
About the Berlin Air Show
The International Aerospace Exhibition and Conference (ILA 2004), also known as the Berlin Air Show, ran from 10-16 May. Organised every two years by BDLI, the event highlights the latest developments in the international aerospace industry and in civil, military and private aviation fields. Its main emphasis is the aerospace equipment and supply industry and, as the so-called 'gateway-to-the-east', participation of Central and Eastern European parties.
Berlin Air Show: Airbus on display
This year's ILA2004 saw the finalisation of large-scale orders and contracts, conferences with high-ranking participants, and an extensive programme of visits by delegations from industry, politics and the armed forces. The underlying mood was one of confidence regarding the continued development of the aerospace sector. Business conducted at the fair included a $900 million order placed by the American carrier Spirit Airlines for 15 aircraft from the Airbus A320 series.
More information http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/aeron autics/info/news/news30_en.html