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25 Jun, 2010 09:53

Boeing looks to Skolkovo as US and Russia link up on technology

Russia and the United States have agreed to jointly work on innovative breakthroughs, with Dmitry Medvedev meeting Barack Obama in Washington, after the Russian President's Silicon Valley visit.

Joint projects would range from alternative energy sources and space exploration, to security and IT. Energy efficiency will be a special focus as the leaders gave the go-ahead to creating a new power grid.

The introduction of a 'smart grid' may reduce energy losses by 25%, saving Moscow up to $1.6 billion dollars annually.

The Russian President said a key outcome of the visit was a boost in economic ties.

“In recent times Russia and the US have made good progress in creating an atmosphere of trust between our nations. To a certain degree we have made the world a safer place. But so far we haven't done enough to change our economic relations and this visit is focused mainly on achieving exactly that.”

At the same time, Boeing has underlined its commitment to working in the new Russian high technology hub at Skolkovo, outside Moscow. Speaking with Business RT James Albaugh Executive Vice President, Boeing, was upbeat about the concept of the high centre, and that the centre would be a success both for companies working there, and for the wider Russian economy.

“I think they can. I think there is very good technology there. We view it as an opportunity to have an incubator, to be a participant in an incubator in Russia, and to have one stop access to many of the new emerging technologies. You have to start, you have to start somewhere. I think they are trying to model themselves after what they have seen done in the United States. They’re going to involve a lot of universities, spin off technologies into small business. So I think they are working with the right model. Obviously its going to be difficult but I am quite certain they will get there.”

Albaugh added that part of the lure for the American aerospace giant would be to further cement links that already see Russian designer having significant input into the latest Boeing range.

“Well I’ve always been a big admirer of Russian engineering and Russian technology. And our company has been doing business here since 1975. The depth of technology and the capabilities of the engineers in Russia is tremendous. In fact we employ about 1400 engineers at our design centre in Moscow, and they were very involved in the design of our latest airplane – the 787 Dreamliner. We also buy a lot of materials from Russian industry, and of course we have some great customers in Russia too – we have a lot of our airplanes fly around Russian airspace."