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Russia to deliver helicopters under Make in India programme
A Force Report

Left to right President Russian Helicopters, Andrey Boginsky, president United Aircraft Corporation, Yury Slyusar and president Irkut Corporation, Oleg Demchenko
Left to right President Russian Helicopters, Andrey Boginsky, president United Aircraft Corporation, Yury Slyusar and president Irkut Corporation, Oleg Demchenko

Le Bourget: Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), for the first time, highlighted its range of commercial products at the recently concluded Paris Air Show. These included the upgraded turboprop IL-114-300; the short haul narrow body jet aircraft SSJ 100; the medium range narrow body MC-21; and the Long Range Wide Body Aircraft (LRWBA) which is being jointly developed with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC).

In a well-attended media interaction, the panel of three presidents of Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) – UAC’s Yury Slyusar; Russian Helicopters’ Andrey Boginsky; and IRKUT’s Oleg Demchenko - answered a wide range of queries pertaining to Russia’s rising civil aviation global profile. Since FORCE was the only Indian media at the event, the panelists were happy to respond to its questions.

Boginsky confirmed that “the contract for Ka-226T would be signed by the end of the year.” According to him, “negotiations with the Indian ministry of defence on the business plan are going on.” Under the joint venture signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Russian Helicopters, and Rosoboronexport, a total of 200 twin-engine helicopters are to be delivered under the ‘Make in India’ programme within nine years of signing the contract. While 60 helicopters will be delivered off the shelf, the remaining 140 will be made by HAL under Russian supervision. Russian Helicopters will be responsible for the assembly, maintenance, repair and technical support. The OEM will help HAL create capability for repair and maintenance within five years and for overhaul of helicopters within seven years from the delivery of first batch of Ka-226T to India.

Sukhoi Superjet 100

Answering another question, Slyusar confirmed that “we are discussing Super jet (SSJ 100) with HAL. We are also discussing future light to medium aviation projects with Indian private companies including Reliance Defence Group which have technical efficiency and good human resources.”

The SSJ 100 (with 98 passenger capacity) which entered serial production in 2011 has an ambitious modernisation plan to create a family of 100 to 130 seat variant by 2025. While the existing SSJ 100 is powered by Safran SaM 146 engine, the plan is to talk with both Safran and United Engine Corporation (UEC) to provide a more powerful engine. For example, the present UEC’s PD-14 engine, which is being test flown with Russian MC-21 aircraft and awaits certification in 2018-2019, could be scaled down to meet the SSJ 100 futuristic needs. With this in mind, the UAC is in talks with potential customers including India’s HAL to assess the possible market. At present, nearly 120 SSJ 100 aircraft are being flown in Russia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Europe.

The more ambitious Russian MC-21 aircraft being produced by IRKUT, for which UAC is seeking partnership with Indian private defence companies, had its first test flight on 28 May 2017. The MC-21 family is planned to have three variants: MC-21-200; MC-21-300; and MC-21-400. Domchenko confirmed that “while 200 and 300 variants (indicating the airliner’s seating capacity) have been produced, the 400 variant will be produced after market survey has been done.”

Moreover, the MC-21-300 did a one hour flight on the first day (June 19) of the air show. The UAC president Slysur was quoted at the air show as saying that, “this is not just a first flight of a new aircraft, but rather an advance of the product that will determine the shape of the Russian civilian aviation industry for the next 50 years.”

While the test flight of MC-21-300 was done with Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM engines, the alternate Russian powerplant Aviadvigatel PD-14 is undergoing laboratory flying tests and is expected to obtain the Russian certification in 2018. IRKUT’s President Demchenko confirmed to FORCE that “of the 175 firm orders for MC-21-300, 100 aircraft with be powered by Pratt & Whitney engine, while the remaining would have the PD-14”. The firm orders are from Russian government owned leasing companies, while Aeroflot would be the first launch operator of MC-21-300 by 2019.

According to Demchenko, “MC-21 would be the first civilian aircraft to use vacuum infusion technology.” The MC-21 will be the first Russian commercial aircraft to use composite components in the wing box and horizontal and vertical fins made by infusion technology, which would take the airplane’s composite component to 30 per cent. The infusion technology has been developed by AeroComposit, another UAC subsidiary.

Even as the production plans for MC-21 unfold, Rostec, the Russian state corporation responsible for exports has reportedly expressed confidence about the export potential of the airliner to developing markets of Southeast Asia, Latin America, India and the Middle East.

Russia to deliver helicopters under Make in India programme


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