Letter: Russian airlift

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The Independent Culture
Sir: You have alluded to the shortcomings in the combined abilities of European nations in the military arena, and we are all aware of the extreme dangers for us all in the unstable and almost bankrupt state of Russia. We could use the one problem to assist the other.

As you say, the biggest military weakness that Europe has is logistical, particularly air transport ("European rapid reaction force to launch next year", 11 December). This will be solved for medium ranges by the Future Large Aircraft, and for long range probably by a military version of the intended Airbus "super-jumbo", in perhaps 10 to 15 years' time.

But the long-range requirement could be met in the short term by co-production with Russia of the very capable Antonov A10 heavy-lift transport plane. Using say, British engines and French avionics it could both do the job and give a much-needed boost to Russia, also helping to convince it of our desire for co-operation.The deal would help preserve the Russian aviation industry.