Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin kicked off the 25th International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS), one of the world’s leading aviation shows, held at Zhukovsky, a city 40km away from Moscow and home to many aerospace institutes and companies.
In his opening address, Putin congratulated MAKS on its growth since its inception in 1992, saying, “This is an anniversary year for MAKS. It was first held 25 years ago, back in 1992. Since then it has established itself as a high profile event”.
He made special mention of the space industry, linking it to Russian culture. “Russians have always taken a keen interest in the development of aviation technology and space exploration. It has to be said that this is an important element of our shared culture and this history of Russian cosmonautics and aviation is a matter of national pride, and rightly so. We are proud of the outstanding achievements by prominent engineers Sergei Korolev, Nikolai Polikarpov, Pavel Sukhoi, Andrei Tupolev, and Sergei Ilyushin. Our goal today is to build on the traditions they established.”
“We hope that all this activity will help step up industrial cooperation, foster international ties, and promote Russian products in the domestic and foreign markets,” he added.
After the speech, Putin took a tour of the exhibition hall, filled with 173 foreign participants and 521 Russian ones. Most of the foreign companies represented are European, with 10 U.S. companies including Boeing, Pratt and Whitney, and Honeywell.
The majority of the handful of Asian participants are Chinese companies, including China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), the official commercial arm of the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA). During his tour of the exhibition area, Putin stopped at CGWIC’s booth and examined a model of the Long March 5, China’s heaviest launch vehicle to date.
The event will feature a much-anticipated air show, with demonstrations by Russian pilots as well as a aerobatics demonstration team from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Also, on the business front, many contracts are expected to be signed, with a deal already closed between Russian space agency Roscosmos and Rosoboronexport, Russia’s sole trading company for defense-related imports and exports.