Sep 8, 2022
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“Boeing” loses the sky of Russia: “Superjets” and MS-21 cut off the “American” from the air corridors

In the photo: Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100

In the photo: Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft (Photo: Sergey Bobylev / TASS)

Aeroflot and the United Aircraft Corporation signed an agreement of intent to purchase 339 Russian-made aircraft by 2030. A ceremony attended by the Director General of UAC (part of Rostec) Yuri Locksmith and CEO of Aeroflot PJSC Sergei Alexandrovsky was held on September 7 as part of the Eastern Economic Forum. According to the parameters of the agreement, from 2023 to 2030, Aeroflot will receive 210 MS-21 aircraft, 89 SSJ-NEW aircraft, and 40 Tu-214 aircraft under leasing conditions.

“Boeing and Airbus aircraft, which are unlikely to ever be delivered to Russia again, will be replaced by Russian-made passenger liners. Of the 339 aircraft, almost 300 are new-generation MS-21 and Superjet aircraft. The Tu-214 will become a reliable support for them – this aircraft was previously produced for special customers and has proven itself well, ”said the head of Rostec Sergey Chemezov.

According to Chemezov, the flagship in the Aeroflot fleet will be the MS-21, “the pride of our aircraft industry,” which uses innovative design solutions that will be appreciated by “both pilots and passengers.” He noted that all aircraft will be delivered in an imported form – with on-board systems and units of Russian production.

Aeroflot did not comment on the cost of the deal, but the Minister of Industry and Trade, Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov reported that the amount of the contract amounted to more than 1 trillion. rub., which is a record.

“The contract between UAC and Aeroflot, signed within the framework of the EEF, will become the main one for funding from the National Welfare Fund – the state will subsidize the purchase of imported versions of aircraft, fixing the delivery price for airlines so that our carriers do not experience additional financial burden,” Manturov said.

Next year, the carrier’s fleet will receive the first two Superjet-NEWs, and starting in 2024, it is planned to deliver the first six MS-21 aircraft and the first seven Tu-214 aircraft.

The lead developer of the MS-21 narrow-body passenger aircraft is Irkut Corporation, the Sukhoi Superjet is Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (since 2020 it has become a branch of Irkut). As noted in Rostec, the MS-21 family belongs to short- and medium-haul narrow-body airliners – the most massive segment of passenger aircraft in the world, and this is the first aircraft of this type, completely created in post-Soviet Russia. Initially, it was assumed that part of the components for the MS-21 would be purchased from foreign companies, including American Pratt & Whitney (PW140) engines.

At the moment, work on import substitution of Sukhoi Superjet and MS-21 has not been fully completed, although a significant part of it has been done. Thus, the MS-21 has already received the Russian analogue of composite materials for the wing, both aircraft should receive domestic PD-8 and PD-14 engines. Now work is underway to replace electronics and other components. Whether it will be possible to launch mass production in the required volume in order to fulfill the agreement on time is still an open question.

Chief editor of the portal Roman Gusarov believes that this is quite a feasible task.

– 339 aircraft – this is the lion’s share of what UAC can theoretically produce before 2030 in the segment of modern long-haul aircraft. This includes almost all MS-21s and a considerable number of Superjets. Superjet can be produced more, but I hope that other airlines will get them.

This deal is mutually beneficial for both the manufacturer and the airline. For Aeroflot, this is a guarantee that already in 2030 the main part of the company’s fleet will consist of domestic modern aircraft, and it will not be dependent on political and economic external pressure.

In addition, it is profitable for it to purchase domestic aircraft, since today it is necessary to pay for foreign aircraft in dollars and euros. This means that the company’s economy, the cost of transportation, and, therefore, you and I, as passengers, are dependent on exchange speculation in the foreign exchange market. Deductions for leasing are constantly changing depending on the exchange rate of the ruble. And in the case of domestic aircraft, these will be stable fixed ruble rates, which, moreover, are lower than the rates at which our airlines currently own foreign aircraft.

As for UAC, it receives clear prospects and guaranteed financing for its production until 2030. The company will not work “for storage” – there is already a customer, the flow of finance will be organized, which means that you can safely make long-term investments in the development, technological development and production of aircraft. This is what our aviation industry has been missing for many years – a guarantee that their products will be in demand, produced and sold. Both sides thus receive new prospects for mutual development.

“SP”: – Is it realistic to produce the required number of cars before 2030?

— MS-21 is in the most demanded and mass-produced aircraft segment in the world — it is a medium-haul narrow-body aircraft. Its competitors are the American Boeing 737 and the European Airbus A320. These are the most common aircraft in the world. Today, the lion’s share of the fleet in Russian companies is precisely this class of aircraft. And, therefore, the MS-21 has great prospects and a significant market. God forbid that we first master the Russian market, this would already be a great success. Let me remind you that domestic airlines currently operate about 700 units of long-haul aircraft. There is still room to grow and develop.

In this regard, the MS-21 will be the flagship of both the production of the UAC in the civilian segment, and in the supply to our airlines and in general in civil aviation. It will become the same flagship as the Tu-154 was at one time, an aircraft that was in the same market niche.

As for import substitution, indeed, it was originally planned that the start of mass production of MS-21 would begin in 2019. But then we received the first blow from the US State Department’s unmotivated sanctions against the Aerocomposite enterprise, which makes a composite wing for this aircraft using a completely unique technology. The program had to be delayed until the completion of the import substitution process in this segment. And this was done, mass production was scheduled for this year.

But we received another portion of the sanction. Now a roadmap has been developed and very active work is underway to import substitution of all remaining foreign components. The start of serial production in a new, already completely Russified form, is scheduled for 2024.

“SP”: – And it can be done?

– This is an absolutely feasible task. If we were able to solve a very difficult technological problem with the production of composite materials for this aircraft, if we were able to create a domestic PD-14 aircraft engine for it, and today only a few countries in the world have such technologies, then we will definitely we can replace. These are much simpler tasks than the creation of an aircraft engine. Therefore, I believe that in 2024 we will be able to get a completely domestic aircraft and launch its mass production on the required scale.

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