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Government prepared to reduce share in Russia’s revamped UAC

вт, 10/10/2017 - 00:00
The Russian government does not rule out that its share in the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) may be reduced after the latter's reorganization, and has indeed made provisions for such a reduction. The state intends to retain the controlling interest in the corporation, reads a draft presidential decree on the corporationj's reorganization that has been elaborated and proposed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The document also reads that the new structure will be called Irkut Corporation. According to the document, the government is to retain control over more than 50% of the company’s shares. In reality, this might mean 50% plus one share. Currently, 91.6782% of the corporation's stock is held by the State Property Management Agency. The UAC, in its turn, holds 86.12% in Irkut Corporation. The document outlines how this structure is going to change: the corporation will merge with Irkut, and the resultant company will perform all the functions currently performed by the UAC.  The document contains no indications as to the future role of UAC subsidiary Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC), which was previously predicted to merge with the UAC and Irkut. The draft decree reads that, once the merger is complete, the newly formed organization under the new name will be added to the so-called list of strategic enterprises.  An earlier reorganization plan called for converting the corporation to a single share and setting up its corporate center with a more compact structure. That center was supposed to be created on the premises of Irkut Corporation, and would inherit all of the UAC's civil-aviation functions. In this set-up, the SCAC would be responsible for the marketing, sales and aftersales support across the UAC's entire product range. The restructuring process is scheduled to be completed within 12 months of the decree's signing. Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov earlier said that the UAC, the SCAC, and Irkut would be merged together before the end of 2019. The merger plan was first announced in late August 2017. The explanation given was that it would expedite further development of Russia's civil aircraft industry and increase the share of civil projects in the UAC's portfolio in compliance with a government strategy through to the year 2035. The restructuring is also expected to help cut the corporation's overhead expenses.

GTLK receives two Mi-8MTV-1 medevac helicopters

пт, 06/10/2017 - 00:00
Russian Helicopters has handed over two Mil Mi-8MTV-1 medevac helicopters to the State Transport Leasing Company (abbreviated to GTLK in Russian). The aircraft will be handed over to Chukotavia and Altay Avia. The aircraft will be used for medevac and air-ambulance services in hard-to-reach regions of Russia. Russian Helicopters expects to deliver a total of 10 Mi-8MTV-1s to the lessor over the course of 2017. Under a different contract, the GTLK will receive 13 Mi-8AMT and six Kazan Helicopters Ansat rotorcraft. Medevac helicopters have already joined the fleets of Russian Helicopter Services, Polar Airlines, the air operator Yeltsovka, Abakan Air, Aeroservice, Angara Airlines, Vyatka Avia, and the Naryan-Mar and Second Arkhangelsk Air Squadrons. The final deliveries should be complete by the end of October. This summer the GTLK signed an agreement to supply a total of 31 helicopters to customers throughout 2018. The order includes 13 Mi-8AMTs, six Mi-8MTV-1s, and 12 Ansats. Russian Helicopters took to assembling the vehicles in late September. A firm order for the rotorcraft will be signed as soon as the Russian government passes an order to extend its air medical services program. Russian Helicopters is expected to deliver up to 200 helicopters to the GTLK by 2025. The lessor told Russian Aviation Insider that it has received over 200 applications from more than 40 airlines.

Round-the-clock maintenance support available for medevac Ansat helicopters

пт, 06/10/2017 - 00:00
Russian Helicopters has launched a dedicated maintenance arm, TeMPo, which will be providing 24/7 services for Kazan Helicopters Ansat rotorcraft delivered to customers as part of the nationwide medevac aviation development program. The service allows operators to file technical requests, as well as ordering the development of damage repair programs and updates to operating documents. "This large-scale project is bringing Russian Helicopters' aftersales support to a new level," says CEO Andrey Boginsky. "The TeMPo service is already involved in the development of medevac aviation in Russia: all the Ansat operators are granted access to the system upon receiving their helicopters. Moreover, the system is available not only in Russian, but also in English, making it accessible to our foreign customers as well." Deliveries of Ansat helicopters in the medevac configuration were launched in May this year via State Transport Leasing Company (GTLK). Two of the type are operated by Russian Helicopter Systems, another one was delivered to Vyatka Avia. Earlier, TeMPo provided maintenance and support services to Russian and foreign operators of Ansat and Kamov Ka-32 helicopters. The service plans to expand the range of helicopter types services by December 1, adding the Mil Mi-8AMT, Mi-171E, and Mi-171A2. Several rotorcraft designs which are currently under development will also be added eventually. Russian Helicopters expects that by 2020 its maintenance arm will have come to service 80% of all helicopters manufactured by the holding company. TeMPo is accessible online via a special section of the aftersales service website, and also through a dedicated phone line and by email. Among other things, it allows helicopter operators to check on the current status of their requests. To gain access to TeMPo, an operator must register at the Helicopter Service Company website.

MAKS exibition to retain historical location

вт, 03/10/2017 - 00:00
Russian President Vladimir Putin has permitted the biennial aerospace exhibition MAKS to continue to be held at Ramenskoe airfield outside the town of Zhukovsky, which has housed the show for the last 25 years, a source in the industry told Russian Aviation Insider. The decision will be turned into a formal governmental resolution before the end of this year. Such documents typically include a list of all international shows to be held in Russia, complete with the dates and organizers. The 2015 resolution listed the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Rostec Corporation as the organizers of MAKS. Rumours that the exhibition might be moved to Kubinka airfield, also outside Moscow, began to spread last year. At the latest airshow, Rostec head Sergey Chemezov indirectly confirmed the plans by saying he doubted that the next MAKS would be held at Zhukovsky. “An exhibition center has been built at Kubinka,” Chemezov said. “Works is currently underway to extend the airfield's runway and erect chalets. The exhibition halls are already in place there.” Putin agreed to keep the exhibition at its present location after the government calculated that construction of associated transport infrastructure would cost almost 100 billion rubles ($1.73 billion), Kommersant daily reports. MAKS has been held at Ramenskoe airfield, which belongs to the Gromov Flight Research Institute, since 1992. In 2017, the traditional show dates were shifted from August to July to allow participants to prepare for another major event, the international forum Army, which was held at Kubinka in August.

Kazan Helicopters reveals Ansat modernization plans

ср, 20/09/2017 - 00:00
Kazan Helicopters, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters, is planning to upgrade its Ansat light rotorcraft. The news was announced at the annual conference of Ansat operators, which was held in Kazan on September 14. The upgrades will be made to the version equipped with a conventional hydromechanical flight control system. The OEM's chief designer, Anton Bushuev, explains that the Ansat is planned to be certified to operate in an expanded range of outside air temperatures, up to +50°С: "We are now sending a helicopter to Pakistan for hot-climate flight tests. The program will comprise 50 flights, in the course of which we hope to extend the operating temperature envelope to +50°С unless any restrictions apply. We expect to complete these tests before the end of this year." Earlier the helicopter was certified to operate in cold temperatures, down to –45°C. Among the upgrades already in progress is the installation of a winch. The first winch prototype to be used in flight testing is expected to be delivered shortly. Also scheduled for this year is the installation of external cargo containers with up to 200 kg freight capacity. A test prototype is being assembled, and will be tested in flight later this year. The R&D effort to design a vibration dampening system for the Ansat has largely been completed. Two design options have been selected; these will be delivered to Kazan Helicopters before the end of September. Both options will be made available to operators: the four-unit variant for VIP and medevac aircraft, and the more conventional three-unit system. Dmitry Sergeev, adviser to the Russian Helicopters CEO, says the system ensures vibration dampening levels comparable to those offered by the VIP variant of the AgustaWestland AW139. Another modification comes in the form of an external sling, to be certified in Q2 2018. The OEM chose American Onboard Systems as the supplier. The sling-equipped rotorcraft will be capable of lifting 1.5 tons of freight externally, bringing its overload weight up to 3,900 kg. Speaking of modernization plans for 2015, Bushuev mentioned an Ansat prototype with an all-composite nose section. A prototype has successfully passed bird strike tests at Baranov Central Institute of Aviation Motor Development. Flight tests should be carried out in Q1 and Q2 2018. The aircraft’s tail boom will be equipped with new empennage, which is expected to improve stability in different fight modes. The use of composites should prolong the helicopter’s service life. Also next year, the Ansat is to be outfitted with an upgraded modified information and management system. This will enable IFR flights in adverse weather, among other things. One of the requests voiced by operators at the conference was for the Ansat’s range to be expanded. Bushaev remarked that Kazan Helicopters is working on this in cooperation with the French fuel system supplier Aerazur. The first phase of the project, scheduled for 2018, will involve tests on shock-resistant fuel tanks. This should extend the Ansat’s 510-km baseline range by an extra 30 km. In 2019, a fuel system with a 700-liter main tank and an auxiliary tank is to be designed. It will extend the Ansat’s range to 1,000 km. Its installation will require the introduction of a new main rotor blade profile; the helicopter’s MTOW will need to be increased by 150 kg to 3,750 kg. The fly-by-wire version, dubbed Ansat-U, which has not yet been certified to civilian standards and is currently operated by the Russian military, will also be subjected to upgrades. Its anti-icing system will be tested in December and January, and is expected to be ready for operational entry next year. The technology could then be transferred to the civil version. Several options are planned for the medevac version of the Ansat. These will include a humidicrib, whose prototype is currently under development.

GTLK receives two more medevac helicopters

пн, 18/09/2017 - 00:00
Russia's State Transport Leasing Corporation (GTLK) has taken delivery of two more helicopters in medevac configuration produced by Kazan Helicopters (part of Russian Helicopters holding). One of these, an Ansat light rotorcraft, is intended for Russian Helicopter Systems (RHS). The second one, a medium-class Mil Mi-8MTV-1, will be operated by Arkhangelsk's Second United Aviation Squadron. RHS expects to start using its Ansat for medevac missions in late September. It will fly patients to the Pskov regional clinical hospital from around the region. The operator already has three Ansats, including one in VIP configuration. RHS received its first of the type in early 2017, and has been operating it in Volgograd Region. According to CEO Alexey Zaitsev, the aircraft has logged more than 200 flight hours, and has recently carried its hundredth patient. The second helicopter arrived in early September, and is currently in service in Kurgan Region. RHS maintains its own helicopters in-house, including heavy checks, under a FAP-285 certificate, Zaitsev told Russian Aviation Insider. The new Mi-8MTV-1 will be put into operation in Arkhangelsk Region in late September, the operator's flight director, Sergey Shamov, told Russian Aviation Insider. It will be used on medevac and passenger transportation missions. According to the Federal Air Transport Agency, the Arkhangelsk squadron already has 11 Mi-8 family rotorcraft, including one Mi-8MTV-1 and nine Mi-8Ts. The newly delivered aircraft represent a 29-ship batch (10 Mi-8MTV-1s, 13 Mi-8AMTs, an six Ansats) supplied to GTLK under a contract with Russian Helicopters that was signed in November 2016. All the helicopters will be equipped with medevac cabins. They are being leased to Russian operators on preferential terms thanks to government support measures provided to GTLK. Deliveries of the batch are expected to be completed by year-end. Dmitry Sergeev, advisor to the Russian Helicopters CEO, confirmed to Russian Aviation Insider that the last of the batch is scheduled for delivery in October. He also cited the Health Ministry as estimating short-term demand for medevac helicopters in Russia at around 60 aircraft. GTLK will receive additional funding for the regional medevac program from the federal budget in 2017. This, and money to be raised from third-party investors, will enable the lessors to acquire 31 more helicopters (19 Mi-8s and 12 Ansats) in 2018.

Russo-Chinese AHL helicopter project reaches next stage

пт, 15/09/2017 - 00:00
Technical specifications for a heavy-lift helicopter, known as the Advanced Heavy Lifter (AHL), have been finalized by Russian Helicopters and China's Avicopter. The final phase of the AHL project was agreed upon after negotiations between representatives of the two countries at this year's China Helicopter Exposition. The project stems from an intergovernmental agreement signed by Russia and China in 2016 to design the AHL and set up its series production in China. The agreement, approved by the Russian government in February 2017, makes it clear that the final result will be an almost completely Chinese product. Project management will be handed over to the Chinese party and the resultant helicopter will be chiefly aimed at the Chinese market. Russian Helicopters will offer support by developing certain subsystems for the rotorcraft that will ultimately be manufactured in China. "We have managed to come to a consensus with our Chinese partners regarding the technical specifications for the AHL," said Russian Helicopters CEO Andrey Boginsky. "We now clearly envision the helicopter's characteristics. At China Helicopter Exposition we carried out constructive negotionations with our Avicopter colleagues, during which we exchanged opinions about the project's financial side. The Russian side [...] will be ready to sign by the end of the year." The current agreement does not lay out a schedule. As of last year, officials hoped to have the AHL certified by 2025. Only civilian roles are currently being mulled for the helicopter, although it is also expected to find some use with the Chinese military.

Russian government to restrict purchase of foreign-built airliners

пн, 11/09/2017 - 00:00
Russian government has proposed a draft legislation, which may set a restriction to purchase of foreign-built aircraft by Russian airlines. The bill has been passed to the State Duma for review. It is expected to foster development of Russian aerospace industry, the government explains. The current regulation implies that all purchases within the frameworks of investment projects valued 10 billion rubles ($175 million) and up should be coordinated with the government. This requirement applies to companies, which are owned by the state by more than 50% and their subsidiaries as well as private companies, which obtained state guarantees of financing in the amount of 10% of their project cost. The proposed amendments virtually allow the government to force airlines to coordinate their purchases or leasing deals involving foreign-built aircraft with a commission for import substitution. The specific criteria will be determined by a separate document, but it is assumed that such coordination will be required for purchase or leasing of aircraft priced above 1 billion rubles (or $17.5 million). The official catalogue price of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800, the most popular foreign types with Russian airlines, is $99 million and $98 million respectively, which translates to around 5.6 billion dollars at current rate. Catalogue prices for widebody aircraft exceed 10 billion rubles. The price of A350-900, which is scheduled for delivery to Russia's state-run Aeroflot Airlines in 2019, is 17.8 billion rubles ($311 million), although the manufacturer may offer discounts depending on the terms of their contracts. Commenting on the bill, Russian vice-president Dmitry Rogozin said the new regulation might become effective as early as January 1, 2018, Interfax newswire reports. The present initiative is not the first one in the recent times, aimed at supporting Russian aerospace industry. In late August the country's Transport Ministry announced it was elaborating amendments to current regulations obliging all airlines to have at least three Russian-made aircraft no older than five years in their fleets in order to obtain an Air Operator Certificate. Earlier, Ministry of Industry and Trade proposed to cancel beneficial customs duties applied to imported aircraft with seating capacity from 50 to 300 passengers and with MTOW between 20 and 90 tons.

Teсhnodinamika, private investor to set up major parts producer

сб, 09/09/2017 - 00:00
Russian holding company Technodinamika will set up the country's largest producer of aviation components at its premises, its parent structure Rostec Corporation has announced. The second partner on the project, and its strategic investor, is Russian privately-owned company CSTS Dinamika, which runs an aircraft component and aftersales support business. The new structure will be an association of more than 50 research and production companies specializing in the development, production, and servicing of aircraft components, electronic equipment, software, simulators, and unmanned systems. The organization is expected to become one of the world's five largest aviation component providers. Rostec and Dinamika will join assets as part of the project. According to Vedomosti daily, the private company will purchase Tekhnodinamika's controlling stake from Rostec, which currently holds 94.92% of the subsidiary's shares. The project has been approved by Rostec's board. It is now subject to approval by the state corporation's supervisory council and by the Russian government. The terms and conditions of the merger will be specified later on, simultaneously with the evaluation of the assets involved and the finalization of the deal's structure. "The private-public partnership that we are developing in key industry segments will help us reach the government-defined targets faster," Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov commented. "In terms of the aviation industry, we intend to begin offering a significantly expanded range of aircraft systems and components, manufacture local equivalents of foreign-made parts in the interest of the Russian aerospace industry, and enter global markets with new products. This scenario is in line with our development strategy, and we are implementing it step by step." Technodinamika has joint projects with Russia's United Aircraft Corporation, United Engine Corporation, and Russian Helicopters, as well as with US-based Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Dinamika produces components for the aerospace and defense industries, aviation simulation systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles. It also provides aircraft maintenance services. The company runs more than 10 businesses with an annual turnover in excess of 20 billion rubles ($350.5 million).

Irkut, SCAC to be merged into UAC corporate center

пн, 04/09/2017 - 00:00
The ongoing reform of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) will see its corporate structure transformed into a single company and converted to a single share, reads the corporation's statement. The process will involve merging the corporation's subsidiaries Irkut Corporation and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), transforming them into a so-called corporate center. The decision was finalized at the September 4 board meeting of the three companies. The portion of the corporate center to be based at Irkut's premises will function as UAC's commercial aviation division, whereas SCAC in its new format will be responsible for marketing, sales, and aftersales support of all of UAC's commercial programs. The structural reform has been accompanied by changes in the top management. Irkut President Oleg Demchenko will now hold the position of vice-president and chief designer. UAC's current president, Yury Slyusar, will temporarily fill in for Demchenko as head of Irkut, while continuing in his current role. Alexander Rubtsov, who has up to now been CEO of the lessor Ilyushin Finance Co., will become SCAC's new president. Rubtsov is replacing Vladislav Masalov, who has been appointed to chair the board of China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Co (CRAIC), a joint venture between UAC and China's COMAC that is tasked with developing a widebody long-range aircraft program. The aim of the ongoing reforms is to replace UAC's current ramified structure, which has proven inefficient, with a more compact one. This is expected to speed up business processes within the corporation, as well as cutting administrative overhead costs. The reform is in line with the corporation's new strategy through 2035, which calls for the share of commercial production in UAC's model range to grow from the current 20% to more than 24%. The corporation's annual output is to reach between 100 and 120 airframes. The SCAC-produced Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) regional jet is one of UAC's ongoing commercial programs, as are the Tupolev Tu-204/214 and Irkut MC-21 narrowbodies, the Ilyushin Il-96 widebody, and the Ilyushin Il-114 regional turboprop. After the corporate center has been set up, the corporation will intensify work to create the transport, military, and strategic aviation divisions.

INSIGHT: Symbiosis of helicopter, UAV operations

сб, 02/09/2017 - 00:00
Russian helicopter operators have been keeping a close eye on the emerging trend of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations – and for good reason. UAV systems offer a range of new competitive advantages, helping air transport operators survive intense market rivalry. That is why UTair Group subsidiary UTair – Helicopter Services LLC launched its own UAV operations this year. The subsidiary signed its first UAV commercial contract in January, following a thorough exploration of the market and the setting-up of a specific division within the company to administer UAV-related issues. Demand for unmanned air delivery services has been influenced in no small way by the severe downturn in oil prices. This development has fostered the introduction of UAVs as customers look to bring down their aerial services costs. In addition to that, some UTair – Helicopter Services contracts suffered in the past from the inconvenience of airspace being closed to helicopters – for up to a month at a time – as UAV operations rendered the airspace inaccessible. UTair – Helicopter Services believes the introduction of UAVs will help it not only retain the best balance between price and service quality, but will also bring additional fleet flexibility in its desire to fulfill customer orders. A new niche The company's UAV division is made up of drone operators and a ground support team. To achieve qualification for the job, operators complete specialist training courses at certified learning centers provided by the manufacturers. In particular, they learn how to pilot drones, they are taught the fundamentals of air space management and how to interact with the State ATM Corporation (the Russian federal agency for air traffic management). They also learn about the management of aerial data acquisition and its processing. These personnel hold university degrees and in most cases are former or active pilots with a good command of current technologies and geodesic engineering. The company's ground support team is tasked with flight servicing, data processing, customer interaction, as well as communications with UAV suppliers in terms of maintenance services, spare parts procurement, etc. UTair – Helicopter Services operates both its own UAVs and also some vehicles leased from third parties. The helicopter company refrained from revealing the exact number of UAVs it has in its fleet today, but assured Russian Aviation Insider that it is big enough to satisfy all its contract missions. The current agreements with drone manufacturers suggest that the carrier is provided with a certain degree of UAV redundancy. The air company is fully licenced to use aerial vehicles for commercial purposes and holds an air operator's certificate. At the HeliRussia 2017 exhibition, Vyacheslav Plyasukhin, the vice-president for business development at UTair – Helicopter Services, named Russian company Geoscan, a supplier of remotely piloted aerial photography equipment, as the company's principal partner. The two businesses have signed a cooperation agreement and are consistently combining their efforts in the development and introduction of new technologies to the area. Thus far, UTair – Helicopter Services has operated drones with a maximum flight time of three to four hours and an MTOW of less than 30 kilos. The company reveals that this category of UAVs is subject to less stringent governmental control in terms of maintenance requirements, flight operations, and operator training. They can carry photo and video cameras, as well as television equipment as payload. Currently, UTair – Helicopter Services is mainly using its UAVs to provide aerial photography services over linear infrastructure facilities (such as pipelines, power transmission lines, or roads) and construction sites, as well as production facility monitoring, high-resolution 3D-modeling, and similar tasks. Among the operator's main customers are power-generation and oil-and-gas companies of West Siberia. The technical maintenance of UAVs is carried out on a scheduled basis by the operator in cooperation with the manufacturers. In order to receive the relevant technical qualifications, the company's employees undergo relevant training. From the business and financial perspective, the company hopes to reach the break-even point for its UAV project by the end of 2017, and will then be able to recoup the initial investments it has made in the training of personnel and the purchase of vehicles. Plyasukhin told Russian Aviation Insider that, although the company failed to quickly cover the initial outlay, it is nonetheless expecting to achieve profitability by the end of this year. As for the long-term plans, the company is looking to extend its UAV fleet even further. In particular, it will acquire vehicles with greater range and with cruise airspeeds of up to 100-120 km/h. At the same time, UTair – Helicopter Services is also interested in the possibility of vertical takeoff and landing UAVs. [caption id="attachment_10348" align="alignnone" width="600"] Among UTair's main customers in the unmanned sector are West Siberian power-generation and oil-and-gas companies (UTair – Helicopter Services)[/caption] Synergy of UAVs and helicopters The experience of UAV operations has in the meantime convinced UTair – Helicopter Services that the combined use of helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial missions brings useful synergies. That is why the company has come up with a strategy to promote this symbiosis of such flying machines as a bundled service. Whether it is a light helicopter or a UAV, each has its own pros and cons for monitoring missions. For example, a light helicopter can cruise at a speed of 150-300 km/h, while an average UAV cannot go faster than 60-80 km/h. The conventional rotorcraft can perform the same job, but three-to-four-times faster than a UAV. On top of that, it can carry more payload equipment, which can be switched into the onboard electrical system. Moreover, light helicopters can be equipped with onboard aerial photography control systems allowing for the automatic performance of photo shoots and video recording. Finally, where needed, a helicopter can alter the route of its flight and return to any of the waypoints, while UAVs strictly follow a prescribed flight plan. On the other hand, UAV operations are considerably less expensive than flying any type of helicopter, whilst unmanned vehicles are also able to quickly detect any potential hazards at customer facilities. By contrast, using a passenger helicopter also means that, in the case of an oil spill for example, the operator can promptly deliver an emergency response team to the site. Another consideration is that having observers onboard a helicopter imposes additional operational risks, thereby increasing insurance costs for customers. When operating a UAV, no such additional expenses are incurred. Finally, drones are less expensive in creating highly credible databases of information acquired. Plyasukhin points out that exploiting this synergy of the two monitoring methods, and optimizing all their individual pros and cons, guarantees the best results: “Where the airspace becomes restricted, for example, helicopter operators have to change their flight plans and inevitably incur extra expenses, which affects the economics of the whole operation. The operator will then need to incorporate these expenses into the flying costs per hour. When it is one company that operates both rotorcraft and UAVs, there is room for maneuver – an opportunity to proactively dispatch the air space management processes. As a result, the company is able to offer its clients a much less costly service bundle.” UAV operations will grow like a snowball, Plyasukhin predicts: “To my mind, the most intensive rivalry within the aviation market will be in the software sector. It is interesting, of course, at what speed and at what altitude you cruise. But a much more vital issue is how fast you can process data either onboard or remotely, and how high the resolution of the acquired data might be. This is the [future] task that will require most of our attention.” By Evgenia Kolyada

Russian Helicopters posts 9% revenue growth for H1 2017

чт, 31/08/2017 - 00:00
Russian Helicopters saw its H1 2017 revenue increase 9.1% year-on-year to 93.827 billion rubles ($1.6 billion), reads the holding company's IFRS report. In 2016, the company had reported 86.042 billion rubles in revenue for the first half of the year, down 1.4% year-on-year. The largest share of this year's sum was generated by rotorcraft sales, which grew 6.6% to 70.663 billion rubles. Revenue from the company's aftersales and maintenance business decreased 10.7% to 15.589 billion rubles, whereas R&D services rendered to third parties generated 168 million rubles, up 52.7% year-on-year. Llike before, the company's main customers in terms of helicopter sales were Russian government agencies, such as the ministries of defense, internal affairs, emergencies, and industry and trade. They contributed "considerably upward of 10%" to Russian Helicopters' consolidated revenue. In terms of sales geography, the largest number of rotorcraft went to to Africa. Customers from that region contributed 39.036 billion rubles' worth to the company's revenue (-2.6% year-on-year), followed by Asia with 26.263 billion rubles (+39.1%). Russia came third with 23.336 billion rubles (+11.1%), and the CIS, fourth with 3.131 billion rubles (+10.7%). North and South Americas together generated 1,125 billion rubles (-37.9%). Finally, Europe generated 933 billion rubles (-35.2%). Russian Helicopters' net profits continued to slide. In the first half of 2017 it stood at 7.546 billion rubles, down 23.3% on the same period last year. For comparison, in the first half of 2016 the company's net profit was down 25.1% year-on-year; for the whole of 2016, it plunged 61.1% year-on-year. Russian Helicopters reports that its gross profit remained roughly level with the same period in 2016 at 43.351 billion rubles (up 0.3%). Unaudited long-term liabilities decreased 5.3% compared to late last year, to 85.624 billion rubles, whereas short-term liabilities grew 9.8% to 174.872 billion rubles. The company's financial performance mostly deteriorated during 2016. Russian Helicopters posted a revenue of 214.360 billion rubles for the year (-2.5%) and 16.204 billion rubles in profit. In the sales segment, its revenues decreased 6.4% to 165.750 billion rubles, but the aftersales and maintenance business actually grew 18.2% to 45.304 billlion rubles. The R&D segment, on the contrary, plummeted 77.5% to 491 million rubles.

Army 2017: Russian missile manufacturer has confidence in the future

вт, 22/08/2017 - 00:00
Tactical Missiles Corporation is one of handful Russian defense industry corporations that may report consolidated net income. Last year the corporation’s income reached almost 17 billion rubles (more than $280 mln) with the revenue topping 172 billion rubles. TMC Director General Boris Obnosov told Show Observer about the new recently developed products and those being under development now. — Mr. Obnosov, how can you estimate the recent State Defense Procurement cuts effect on the corporation’s business? – State Defense Procurement has been continuously growing for the last five years. Whereas in the beginning of the century the ratio was about one to ten in the favor of exports, today State Defense Procurement makes up about 70%. Both exports and State Defense Procurement have been growing with the latter growing faster. I hope this fact won’t be taken as a sign of another militarization of Russia. The time has come to replace the arsenals that were made in 1980-1990s; it’s as simple as that. As far as today’s State Defense Procurement cutting policy is concerned — no doubt it will affect us all. Nevertheless the government has repeatedly said precision weapons would remain a priority. The State Armaments Program for 2018-2025 is now being drawn up. I hope and the top government officials have also stressed once and again that precision and selective weapons have favorable perspectives as these are capable to determine the outcome of a combat. “Precision, selective weapons have pretty good perspectives” — Could you please tell us about the most interesting products of your corporation, to your opinion? — I’d like to say a few words about the KAB-250LG-E guided bomb with the laser self-homing head. We are the first in Russia to develop 250-kilogram class guided bombs and I hope we will finish the work on the project till the end of the year. Earlier we had 500-kilogram and 1500-kilogram guided bombs. Thus, together with the rest of the world we are moving towards a selective target engagement without any “side effects” and with minimal damage to the immediate surroundings. The second product that is displayed at the Army-2017 forum is the Kh-38ME modular missile. We have already developed the Kh-38MLE laser-guided missile and are now planning to finish the development of its thermal self-guided head modification. Grom-E is an example of a modular missile bomb armament based on Kh-38M guided airborne missile. The product can be used as a missile with an engine and one warhead or as a gliding bomb with two warheads. This is a very effective weapon with different types of warheads and damage effects. Read more news from Army 2017 International Military-Technical Forum in Show Observer — There is much talk about TMC manufacturing weapons for advanced aircraft, however it’s not a secret that Russian Air Force use Sukhoi Su-24, Su-25 aircraft in Syria... — In fact all our weapons can be used on any aircraft without being bound to any type - that would just be incorrect and ineffective. Everything we develop today can be mounted externally, on Su-34 and Su-35, respectively. The idea is to make our products more versatile. We have many carriers including those capable of reaching the speed of Mach 2.5 and the missiles should fit the speed. Take MiG-31, for example – it has a certain range of suitable products. We will soon be able to see T-50 (Sukhoi Su-57- ed.) fifth generation fighter – and we are carrying out respective weapon testing. One should be more patient. Basically all the product range we are showing can be mounted externally on T-50. However it is a completely different story when the armament is mounted internally – this is a key task. The armament should be more concise, other release and flight preparation; other target pointing systems should be used, and so on and so forth. — What is the current status of hypersonic missile project? — We are indeed working on this topic, in several directions. I would broadly call one of them ballistic. This is, for example, figuratively speaking, when the product is flying on its first stage substantially overcoming the hypersonic speed – Mach 10, 12 or even Mach 20, the engine provides certain acceleration and then inertial aerodynamic maneuvering is used with speed characteristics gradually deteriorating because of the air drag. The second direction is when a lengthy guided flight in the atmosphere is in question even at low hypersonic speeds of Mach 6-7. To make this possible substantial development is required in many directions including the engine, materials, guidance as well as onboard systems. We are truly working in these directions, our partners are working as well, the whole country is working, I would say. I think that in the 2020s, which is near, a major hypersonic speed development is coming. First of all I mean unmanned aerial vehicles which include missiles. By Maxim Pyadushkin

Army 2017: The invincible Chaika debuts at Army 2017

вт, 22/08/2017 - 00:00
The joint exhibition stand of Saint Petersburg-based Radar MMS and Alekseev Central Hydrofoil Design Bureau from Nizhny Novgorod at Army 2017 forum displays a new ground-effect vehicle Chaika-2 mockup. The vehicle is designed by the Nizhny Novgorod company. The Central Design Bureau and Radar MMS are planning a major cooperation with the latter company being responsible for the onboard avionics equipment, Radar MMS representative told Show Observer. Chaika-2 (Seagull-2) is a sea- and aerodrome-based vehicle capable of reaching the speed of up to 450 km/h and flying under the complete operational envelope by the surface and beyond. The developers state high fuel effectiveness of the ground-effect craft, ability to be easily based and maintained, low radar visibility, mine and torpedo fire survivability, ability to land on water etc. Read more news from Army 2017 International Military-Technical Forum in Show Observer The craft can be operated on large lakes and water reservoirs, sea coast areas and on level snow and ice surfaces in wintertime. The ground-effect vehicle will be powered by two launch engines R-195 and two cruise propulsion engines Klimov TV7-117S. The craft will be able to enter an unimproved shore with an angle of up to 5 degrees. The vehicle will be able to carry passengers and cargo in the sea coastal areas and act as a search and rescue craft (in the interests of the Ministry of Emergencies) and patrol vessel (to guard the state borders and exclusive economic zone at sea). The craft can also be used as an auxiliary and medevac transport as well as for inland water ecological monitoring. According to Radar MMS representative, Chaika-2 ground-effect vehicle is now at the stage of an advanced technical proposal only, with air- and hydro-testing completed. The creation of a pilot model will become possible only after the customer financing is provided. It is planned that the ground-effect vehicle will be built in five years after the conclusion of the contract. The certification process of the craft will be carried out since the beginning of the project: as a result of the flight tests the developers plan to present the craft to the sea and air registers. By Evgeniya Kolyada

Flight tests of Su-57’s new engine to begin this year

вт, 22/08/2017 - 00:00
The second-stage engine for the Sukhoi Su-57 (earlier known as T-50) fifth generation fighter will begin flight tests in the fourth quarter of 2017, a United Engine Corportation (UEC) spokesperson told Show Observer. The engine for the Su-57, developed under the Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation program (known by Russian acronym PAK FA), will be tested on board a flying lab. The new engine, known as Item 30, has been designed from scratch, and, as the UEC emphasizes, its design has included certain solutions that have no equivalent in the Russian engine-building industry. The engine’s design specifications have not been disclosed. Read more news from Army 2017 International Military-Technical Forum in Show Observer The Item 30 engine is being developed by the Lyulka Design Bureau. The powerplant was first started on the ground in November of last year and continues to show success in ground tests, according to the company. It was announced that nine prototypes are planned to be built. The Su-57 itself is already in the stage of flight tests. The aircrafts prototypes are all fitted with first-stage AL-41F-1 engines, which are also currently in development. The UEC told Show Observer that the powerplant’s development work is nearing completion. By Valentin Makov

Frigate Ecojet to get MC-21’s engines

пт, 11/08/2017 - 00:00
Russia's United Engine Corporation has been approached by the developers of Frigate Ecojet project to power this perspective new-generation aircraft with four PD-14.  This engine is being developed for MC-21 program. The four-engine version of Frigate Ecojet, dubbed Freejet, has been in the works since July this year, and now its designers have started negotiations with the engine-maker, UEC-Aviadvigatel. Frigate Ecojet's project leader Alexander Klimov had told Russian Aviation Insider about the four-engine version in advance of Moscow MAKS-2017 airshow. He explained that his team had to revise the original concept because there were no suitable engines in the 18-23 ton thrust range on the market. Klimov named Russian-made PD-18R and PS-90A20 his choice for the aircraft. Both engines are still in early design stages. Although four-engine aircraft cease the market to twin-engine competitors, Klimov believes that in case of Frigate Ecojet the four-engine design will justify itself. It will allow the designers not to wait for the new engines to be developed and certified and instead go ahead with the program, also advancing towards an all-electric aircraft by transforming the excessive thrust into electricity. Each engine will supply 250 kW to generator. Klimov, however, admits that Freejet has its shortcomings. The additional engines slightly affect the aircraft's aerodynamics and increase its weight. Potential candidates for the powerplant are also Pratt & Whitney PW1400G (also used on the MC-21) and CFM International LEAP-1 (designed for Boeing 737MAX, A320neo family and COMAC C919) Frigate Ecojet's main feature is the non-standard elliptical fuselage, which helps to generate lift. The widebody aircraft is expected to have performance similar to narrowbody aircraft. The same concept lies in Boeing's new program dubbed 797, which is positioned as Middle of the Market aircraft. Klimov revealed that Frigate Ecojet's preliminary design is nearly complete. The designers are counting on defining the design specifications for the aircraft and outlining requirements for Freejet's systems before the end of the year. The aircraft is expected to seat 300 passengers and fly 3,500 km (up to 8,000 km with auxiliary tanks, according to Klimov). Its MTOW is projected at 140 tons.

Russian Helicopters to test Ka-226T in Iran

чт, 10/08/2017 - 00:00
The Russian Helicopters holding along with the Iran Helicopters Support and Renewal Company (IHSRC) will carry out usability tests on its light utility Ka-226T helicopter, particularly in high temperature conditions. The testing will be done at the IHSRC's facility. This follows from a memorandum signed between the two parties at HeliRussia-2017, in May. The rotorcraft, which has already arrived at the Iranian facility, will continue high temperature tests through the end of August. The tests are meant to demonstrate the Ka-226T's capability of being operated at extreme temperatures of up to +50 degrees. "The testing of the Ka-226T in the extreme climatic conditions of Iran will make the helicopter even more attractive for potential operators not only in Iran, but also throughout the Middle East," said Russian Helicopters CEO Andrey Boginsky. "We already notice great interest towards the helicopter in the region even now." Russian Helicopters is planning on meeting with IHSRC in September, after the conclusion of testing, for a conference in Iran for the promotion of the helicopter to potential customers. The Ka-226T has already successfully been promoted to India, with a road map of serial production in that country already drawn up by both sides. 200 helicopters are on order to the Indian Armed Forces and deliveries to begin in 2019. The type is also already in use by the Russian military and has found use in the medevac market in that country.

INTERVIEW: Frigate Ecojet team still enthusiastic about project

сб, 29/07/2017 - 00:00
Alexander Klimov, director of the Frigate Ecojet project, explains the concept behind the non-conventional passenger airliner A couple of years ago you aggressively promoted the Frigate Ecojet project, the highly elliptical fuselage aircraft, as an efficient solution for the market segment which Boeing later called Middle of the Market (MoM). It is a medium- to short-range airliner, which has the operational economy of a widebody aircraft. More recently, however, your activity has somewhat reduced. What happened? We bumped into a problem, which we had been aware of since the very dawn of the project. And it is not on our side either. For Frigate Ecojet, we need engines in the 18- to 23-ton thrust range, but what we have now are the obsolete Progress D-18T, Rolls-Royce Trent 500 and RB211, and Pratt & Whitney PW2000 options. We have been waiting, and are still waiting, for the Aviadvigatel PD-18R and PS-90A20 to emerge, but these have not yet materialized. Boeing, for its 797 project which I aimed to replace both the 757 and 767 models, is talking to the world's leading powerplant specialists, but the development phase would take anywhere between three and five years. So we decided to take a different approach, and Boeing basically gives us a head start for these years, because the 797 targets the same segment as our project. But we will make a four-engine aircraft. You know the saying though that four engines is out of fashion. We see how the newest four-engined 747-8i is ceding market to the 777X and A350 twins, and this is even affecting the A380 sales, albeit in a different market segment… Well, we are not on a catwalk you know. Quads naturally lose to twins for as long as they do not offer any convincing competitive advantages. One vivid example is the four-engined A340, which is going out of production while the A330 and A330neo are thriving. Overall optimization of the aircraft is more important than the number of engines. The four-engined version of Frigate Ecojet, which we dubbed Freejet, will have the same engine options as the new generation of narrowbodies: the PD-14, PW1400G, and CFM LEAP-1. Four engines unload the wing and allow for a lighter primary structure. Such engines can be mounted under the wing on long pylons, allowing for a one-piece slat and directing the fan slipstream away from the flaps, thus reducing noise levels. [caption id="attachment_9850" align="alignnone" width="225"] Alexander Klimov, Frigate Ecojet project director[/caption] Our Freejet will be 15 dB quieter than the future ICAO Chapter 14 requirements. Thanks to a higher thrust-to-weight ratio, the required field length will not exceed 2,500 m, so the aircraft could be operated from city airports. Besides, we will implement the electric aircraft technology, meaning electro-hydrostatic and electromechanical actuators, an electric taxi system, electric air conditioning and anti-icing. This will eliminate the need for an air-bleed system, and will make the engines more efficient. According to our estimates, the electric aircraft concept can reduce fuel burn by 8% to 12%, cut the take-off weight by 6% to 10%, and lower the direct operating costs by between 5% and 10%. As a result, we will get an aircraft with a seating capacity of between 250 and 300 passengers, and a range of 4,500 km. These performances are for the variant with the wing tanks only. But if we load fuel into the center wing tank as well, we will get a long-range version capable of flying to up to 8,000 km, and that is a significant part of the long-haul air transport segment. Also, this is all we can achieve in the framework of one baseline design. So the concept we are offering allows for a reduction in operating and ownership costs. We believe that the airplane of the future must not only be “smart” (as in: incorporating digital technologies), environmentally friendly, and quiet, but also next to free of charge for the passengers to use. This is the only way commercial aviation can accomplish its mission in providing global mobility for travelers. This brings the “free lunch” saying to mind… We are striving to achieve a radical reduction in the aircraft-related costs, and are doing so with the help of the new digital economy. Today, a project can only be successful if it was designed as a platform from the start. Before the end of the year we will be launching our TeTrA portal, a digital stock exchange to provide space for both free-of-charge and paid technology sharing related to design, production, MRO, operations, and ancillary revenues. Similar projects are being developed by Airbus and Boeing, but it seems to me that those are aimed primarily at intercepting new promising technologies before competitors can get a hold of them. What we are trying to create is a digital design bureau, an open platform, which would make use of distributed design and other advanced technologies, thus reducing the cost of our Freejet's development, production, and operation. "We believe that the airplane of the future must not only be 'smart', environmentally friendly, and quiet, but also next to free of charge for the passengers to use" Where does the Freejet fit in with the development strategy of the Russian aerospace industry? Are you counting on government funding? It does not fit in at all. I will not comment on the projects currently under development by the United Aircraft Corporation, those are contemporary aircraft at best. We, by contrast, are making an aircraft of the future. We are not interested in government funding at all, we are working with private investors. Our Freejet will be created with the help pf digital distributed economy, not with budget money. By Alexey Sinitsky

MAKS: GTLK places order for 30 helicopters

сб, 22/07/2017 - 00:00
Russian Helicopters and State Transport Leasing Corporation (GTLK) have agreed the delivery of 30 helicopters: 12 Mil Mi-8AMTs (produced by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant), six Mi-8MTVs, and 12 Kazan Helicopters Ansats. The agreement was signed at the MAKS 2017 exhibition. GTLK CEO Sergey Khramagin commented that all the helicopters on order will be used in medevac roles under the government's program to develop air ambulance services in 34 of the country's 82 regions. Russian Helicopters CEO Andrey Boginsky reassured jouralists that the company has enough production to complete the order while simultaneously contributing its share of deliveries under the government defense procurement program. It is understood that the medical equipment for the helicopters will be discussed in the near future. In May this year, the two companies signed a deal for annual deliveries of 64 helicopters from 2018 to 2020. Of this number, up to 50 aircraft would be Mi-8AMTs and Mi-8MTV-1s, plus up to four Mi-171A2s and up to 10 Ansats. The first medevac rotorcraft under the air ambulance program was delivered in May 2017 to Russian Helicopter Systems. The aircraft, an Ansat, will be operated in Vologda Region. The operator ordered another two of the type at MAKS 2017. GTLK will also deliver Russian rotorcraft to operators outside the country. A framework agreement to that effect, which will be continue until 2025, was signed with Russian Helicopters on July 20. “With our strategic partner Russian Helicopters we will keep promoting Russian-built commercial helicopters onto the global market,” Khramagin announced. “GTLK has the appropriate infrastructure for this. Our subsidiary GTLK Europe has been operating successfully in the aviation leasing segment since 2012.” The export agreement covers Russian Helicopters' entire range of commercial rotorcraft, Boginsky stressed.

Russia needs new approach to developing aerospace technologies

чт, 20/07/2017 - 00:00
Russia needs to change its approach to developing aerospace technologies, believes Andrey Dutov, director of Zhukovsky Institute. Dutov says that for the country to have competitive aviation equipment in the future, it has to introduce an innovative system that would facilitate the creation of new technologies and help build a reserve of of technological advances. At present, designers begin searching for the suitable technologies after the decision has been made on developing a new aircraft that needs to meet preset performance specifications. Dutov says this approach increases the risk of the development timeline slipping, and of the end product having inferior characteristics. As part of the innovative applied research management system, the requisite technologies get fully developed before the approval of any specific aircraft development projects. This approach has been used in the West for several decades now, including by scientific centers like DLR, NASA, and DARPA. By financing applied research efforts and transferring developed technologies the government subsidizes hi-tech industrial sectors and undertakes to cover the risks related to research. Dutov says Zhukovsky Institute is working to create a similar system in Russia. The institute was set up in 2014 as an umbrella organization for the country's leading aerospace research centers: TsAGI, CIAM, SibNIA, GosNIIAS, and GkNIPAS. By Maxim Pyadushkin


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