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Fourth Beriev Be-200ChS for Russian Emergencies Ministry completed

чт, 15/03/2018 - 00:00
Russia’s Taganrog-based aircraft manufacturer Beriev has built the fourth Be-200ChS amphibious airliner intended for the country’s Emergencies Ministry. The aircraft is registered as RF-31380 (factory No. 306), Beriev’s parent company United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) reports. The jetliner performed its maiden flight on March 12 from Beriev’s factory airfield. It is a part of a six-ship contract signed with the Emergencies Ministry on May 25, 2011. The original plan called for delivering the first five in 2017. The third airframe was handed over to the customer last December. Following acceptance tests, the aircraft will be ferried to the Khabarovsk-based aviation rescue center for operations. The Russian Emergencies Ministry uses its Be-200ChS aircraft in firefighting and rescue operations within the country and abroad: in Greece, Portugal, Spain, France, and Indonesia. In the summer of 2017, the manufacturer received a firm order for two of the type from China’s Energy Leader Aircraft Manufacturing. A memorandum was also signed with the Argentine Defense Ministry, which wants to procure three. Beriev announced late last year that it was prepared to ramp up Be-200 production. The Russian Defense Ministry had also placed an order, but deliveries never materialized. Be-200s used to be built by the Irkutsk aircraft plant (also a UAC company).

The first Mongolian-built TVS-2MS to fly in April

сб, 03/03/2018 - 00:00
The engineers at MIAT Mongolian Airlines are gearing up to take the first TVS-2MS aircraft for its maiden flight in April. The aircraft is an upgraded and re-engined version of Antonov An-2 passenger biplane designed by Russia's Siberian Aviation Scientific Research Institute (SibNIA). The modernization is being carried in Mongolia, at MIAT base in Ulan-Bator. At the moment there are two aircraft fully ready for installation of Honeywell TPE331 turboprop engines. MIAT technical director Ayush Tuvd told Russian Aviation Insider at the MRO Russia and CIS 2018 convention that the airline has plans to upgrade five more An-2s this year, while the total plan includes 24 aircraft. He also commented that the entire fleet is required for the airline, so it is not considering any external orders for the modernization just yet. The Mongolian aviation authorities have already validated the Russian airworthiness certificate for the  TVS-2MS. The aircraft re-engined in Mongolia will have a letter M added to their designation, TVS-2MS-M, which stands for "modernized". The main difference from the basic TVS-2MS is Garmin 800 avionics suite instead of Garmin 500, and a proposed installation of a Honeywell-made APU in the future. Tuvd explained that the APU is required because the aircraft will be operated far from the maintenance base, and the APU will help solve the issue with charging batteries. There are currently 23 MIAT Mongolian Airlines engineers involved in the project, but the operators intends to send 17 more to be trained in Novosibirsk. By Artyom Korenyako

Georgia’s ATC Aero ambitious to supply composites to Airbus, Boeing

чт, 22/02/2018 - 00:00
ATC Aero, an $85-million joint project of Georgia’s Partnership Fund and Israeli company Elbit Cyclone, is gearing up to build composite parts for commercial airliners. The facility, based outside Tbilisi International Airport, is reportedly readying to install associated equipment. The company received two autoclaves in early February, both ordered by Elbit Cyclone from the US. According to Partnership Fund CEO David Saganelidze, production of composite components for commercial aircraft is scheduled to start before late 2018, and the company is looking to supply its produce to the world's leading OEMs. Says Saganelidze: "The largest players of the global aviation industry, such as Boeing, Airbus, and Bombardier, will become consumers of this factory’s highest-quality international produce." Saganelidze also emphasized that Georgia will be able to offer competitive prices on its products due to a favorable investment conditions in the country. ATC Aero will manufacture composite parts for commercial aircraft, including airfoils, doors, etc. The entire production output will be exported. The company currently employs 60 personnel specifically trained in Israel. The number is expected to reach 80 within this year, and should hit 300 once the facility starts operating at full capacity. The company points out that 90% of the staff will be Georgian citizens. Elbit Cyclone is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems.

Construction of MC-21 customization center to begin in Russia this year

вт, 20/02/2018 - 00:00
A customization center for Irkut MC-21 passenger jetliners may be built in Russia’s Ulyanovsk Oblast by late 2019. The project is expected to be launched in Q2 2018, and should take up to 18 months to complete, the a source in the regional development corporation told Russian Aviation Insider. The Port Special Economic Zone (PSEZ) outside Ulyanovsk has been selected as the location for the project for its transport and engineering infrastructure and proximity to Ulyanovsk-Vostochny airport, which is a structural division of the aircraft factory Aviastar-SP. Irkut is currently in the final stages of designing the customization center. Construction would require over 1 billion rubles ($18 million) in investment, and should create about 100 hi-tech jobs. The MC-21 is scheduled to enter service in 2019.

Russia to produce all-composite version of legacy An-2 biplane

вт, 20/02/2018 - 00:00
The TVS-2DTS all-composite light multirole single-engine turboprop, a thoroughly upgraded version of the Soviet-designed Antonov An-2 biplane, will be produced serially by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters, which is in turn a subsidiary of state-owned Rostec Corporation) starting from 2019. A joint news release by Rostec and Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade reads that an agreement to the effect was signed by both parties, plus by the administrations of the republics of Buryatia and Yakutia and Russian Helicopters, at a recent investment forum in Sochi. The aircraft, re-designed by Siberian Aviation Scientific Research Institute (SibNIA), will initially start flying on local routes within Siberia and Russia’s Far East. There are plans to set up a new operator for the type with the use of the resources offered by one of the existing Yakutian airlines. Polar Airlines is a likely candidate, as it has experience operating An-2s. The plan is to produce at least 200 TVS-2DTS aircraft between 2021 and 2025, thus meeting the demand forregional air services. The government might decide to involve State Transport Leasing Company (GTLK) to simplify carriers’ access to theairframes. The new biplane is still in testing. It made its debut at the 2017 MAKS exhibition outside Moscow, shortly after its first flight in the middle of last year. Back then Vladimir Barsuk, the director of SibNIA, told Russian Aviation Insider that, after the testing has been completed, the institute would pass the program and all pertaining documentation to a design bureau, which would become the aircraft’s "developer". The certification program would only begin after the manufacturer had been selected, Barsuk added. Later on, the institute launched negotiations with the Ulan-Ude plant over the TVS-2DTS assembly. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is seeking to financially support the R&D, certification, and series production of the TVS-2DTS. “The government is ready to provide subsidies to manufacturers of aircraft for local and regional air services, partially refunding their certification costs and pre-production efforts,” Minister Denis Manturov said. “There is 220 million rubles [$3.9 million] reserved in the federal budget for the purpose for 2018, and aadditional 230 million rubles each for 2019 and 2020. The new airline must create a route network in every region where it is present, and shall make sure it gets its return on investment. Apart from that, appropriate regulations governing the operation of light aircraft must be in place.” The TVS-2DTS is equipped with modern avionics suitable for round-the-clock IFR operations. It can operate from unprepared runways. It is expected to fly at a maximum airspeed of 350 km/h and cover up to 4,500 km. The payload is calculated at 3.5 tons. The aircraft showcased at MAKS 2017 was powered by the Honeywell TPE331-12U turboprop engine. There are ongoing (albeit delayed) plans to assembe the powerplant in Russia.

Azerbaijan Airlines wants Boeing to continue production of 747-8F freighter

ср, 14/02/2018 - 00:00
Jahangir Askerov, CEO of Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL), has held strategic talks with Richard Forson, president and CEO of partner airline Cargolux, in which both sides expressed their satisfaction with the 17-year cooperation between the two carriers. Their discussion also placed the spotlight on the need for the continuation of production of the iconic Boeing 747 widebody freighter, amid speculation that its manufacturing line may be scrapped by the US planemaker. The AZAL/Cargolux partnership, established in 2001 with the initial operation of regular Cargolux flights to and from Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev international airport outside Baku, was further strengthened when both sides agreed a contract for Cargolux to deliver three Boeing 747-400 freighters to Azeri carrier Silk Way Airlines between 2010 and 2014. This arrangement currently also includes maintenance of Boeing 747 airliners, plus crew training on simulators for the type. According to AZAL’s Askerov, Azerbaijan's civil aviation has emerged as the foremost air carrier along the Great Silk Road connecting east and west, and the use of long-range Boeing 747-8F aircraft, now well established on the global cargo transportation market, is an important part of further implementation of this strategy. Askerov voiced his concerns about Boeing’s potential decision to shut down the 747-8F production line, especially because it is predicted that there could be a need to purchase some 20 such aircraft for Azerbaijan’s civil aviation within the next 10 years. This is why he intends to make a request to Boeing Corporation to continue production of the type. Richard Forson expressed Cargolux’s satisfaction with the high quality of services provided at Heydar Aliyev International Airport. He agreed that the 747-8F has more than proved itself in the world of air cargo transportation, and that there will be a continuing need for such aircraft on the market. Askerov informed his Cargolux counterpart that, at his invitation, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Kevin McAllister will pay a working visit to Baku in the coming weeks. The invitation was extended to include Forson to participate in discussions regarding the future of the freighter widebody. Silk Way Airlines now operates regular flights to more than 20 destinations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. The airline’s fleet consists of a mix of the modern and capacious Boeing 747-8F and -400F variants. Silk Way’s success over the past 10 years has helped Heydar Aliyev evolve into a major east-west logistics hub for air cargo transportation.

Russia’s airlines see traffic growth slow down in January

ср, 14/02/2018 - 00:00
According to an interim report released by Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency, the country’s airlines carried a combined total of 7.563 million passengers in January 2018, up 13.5% year-on-year. To compare, the January 2017 figure stood at 20.2%. The seat load factor increased by 1.8 percentage points, reaching 79.3%. Freight and mail grew 6.9% to 82.944 tons. The cargo traffic market is evidently slowing down, given that last year’s January growth registered at 26%. Russian airlines served 105.052 million passengers in 2017, up 18.6% year-on-year. Traffic growth started to slow down by the end of the year. Vladimir Tasun, president of Russia’s Association of Air Transport Operators (abbreviated to AEVT in Russian), told Russian Aviation Insider that the main factor behind the traffic growth is the airlines’ pricing policy, which is mostly aimed at keeping the fares level despite the rising airport handling and fuel fees. The strengthening of the national currency and the resumption of services with Turkey last year also played a role. However, AEVT forecasts 2018 growth at not more than 10%. Experts point out that Russia’s air transport industry has practically exhausted its potential, which could stem further traffic growth. AEVT believes that stimulating air travel within Russia could still contribute to traffic growth, but the process will definitely take time. The Russian cargo transportation market grew extensively last year, at 15.7%.

Aeroflot orders 50 Russian-built MC-21s

пт, 02/02/2018 - 00:00
Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot has signed a contract with Rostec Corporation for 50 Irkut MC-21 medium-range narrowbody passenger aircraft. The landmark contract, signed on February 1, calls for deliveries of the Russian-designed airliners to begin in Q1 2020. Rostec's subsidiary lessor Avia Capital Services will supply the 50 MC-21-300 airframes under an operating lease contract, making Aeroflot the largest operator of the type. The last of the batch should join the carrier's fleet in 2026. The contract is being lauded as a great comeback for the Russian civil aviation industry. Says Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov: “This agreement underscores that Russia’s civil aviation industry is making a comeback and taking its proper place among the leading global manufacturers.” He is seconded by Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Savelyev: “The MC-21 represents a genuine breakthrough for the aviation industry. The signing of a firm order for 50 such aircraft is a landmark event not just for our two companies but for our country in general. Russian manufacturers have created the first next-generation passenger aircraft, marking the country's return as a global aviation leader.” The new aircraft will be delivered in a 169-seat configuration, with 16 seats in business class and 153 in economy. The first part of the batch will be delivered with foreign-made engines. From the 26th aircraft on, Aeroflot is free to choose Russian-built Aviadvigatel PD-14 powerplants; the engine is currently undergoing certification testing. Each aircraft will be leased for 12 years, with the option of two-year extensions for not more than three times. The lease payments and the sums secured towards maintenance will total over $5 billion. Aeroflot plans to operate the aircraft on both domestic and international routes. Aeroflot is Russia's largest carrier, having served 32.8 million passengers in 2017. As a member of SkyTeam, an international airline alliance, it has access to a route network spanning 177 countries, partially supported by alliance partners.

Russia to export seven Kamov Ka-32A11BC rotorcarft in 2018

вт, 30/01/2018 - 00:00
Russian Helicopters has announced plans to deliver seven Kamov Ka-32A11BC multirole helicopters to foreign customers this year. The manufacturer, Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise (KumAPP), has already begun assembly of the batch. Turkish operator Kaan Air will receive three Ka-32A11BCs. The first aircraft of the batch has already been assembled at KumAPP. Another two aircraft will be delivered to Southeast Asia, with a further two to China's United Helicopters. The latter might be announced as the official distributor of Russian-made helicopters for China, Malaysia, and Australia. Ka-32A11BCs have proved their worth in search-and-rescue missions, fighting forest fires, and putting out fires in tall buildings. According to Russian Helicopters' general director Andrey Boginsky, there's growing demand for such helicopters not only among their traditional operators but from the new customers outside Russia as well. For many years these helicopters have been used in fighting natural and man-made fires in different parts of the world. Ka-32A11BCs are operated in Russia, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and other countries. Two such rotorcraft were delivered to customers outside Russia in 2016, followed by more orders last year. Thailand ordered some in 2017.

MC-21 with Russian engines could be certified in 2021

вт, 30/01/2018 - 00:00
Russia's next-generation Irkut MC-21 narrowbody airliner powered by Aviadvigatel PD-14 engines is scheduled for certification in 2021, the engine-maker UEC - Perm Engines reports. The company has signed a contract with the airframer Irkut Corporation (part of United Aircraft Corporation, UAC) for the delivery of five engines for the airliner's flight tests. UEC - Perm Engines has committed to delivering the first powerplants to Irkut by the end of 2018, once the Federal Air Transport Agency has completed the certification procedures on the engine. The first PD-14-powered flight is slated for 2019. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin earlier announced that the fourth prototype of the aircraft would be powered by PD-14s. “Signing a contract with Irkut is a tangible milestone in our work to put our engines on the wing of the newest Russian airliner,” says UEC – Perm Engines CEO Sergey Popov. “Our company is committed to delivering the PD-14 within the agreed timeframe.” The first MC-21 flying prototype is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400 engines. Certification with this engine choice is expected to happen before the end of 2019. The second prototype should join the flight tests by late February or early March this year. In the meantime, the PD-14 has entered the third stage of flight tests. EASA is expected to validate its type certificate in 2019. Russian airline Red Wings may become the launch operator of the new aircraft. The lessor Avia Capital Services has also placed a firm order for 85 of the type. The MC-21 backlog stood at 315 airframes last year, including 175 firm orders.

Putin proposes civilian version of Tupolev Tu-160 bomber

пт, 26/01/2018 - 00:00
Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed creating a civil version of the Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber. He voiced the idea while visiting Kazan Aviation Plant on January 25 to attend the presentation of the bomber's modernized version, the Tu-160M. The newly assembled aircraft  named after Gen. Pyotr Deynekin (a Soviet and then Russian aif force commander) made a seven-minute demonstration flight from the facility's airfield as part of the flight testing program. The aircraft was checked for stability and controllability. "A civilian version needs to be created," Putin said. "Why did the Tu-144 [the Soviet equivalent of Concorde] go out of production? Because the fares were supposed to match the average income in the country. Today the situation is different. There are now large companies which could use such an airliner." Yuri Slyusar, who heads United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), Kazan's parent holding, commented that his company already has a project to design a supersonic civil aircraft. The Tupolev Tu-144 never became commercially viable because of its low reliability and poor efficiency. This aircraft was put into operation with Aeroflot in 1977; until June 1, 1978, it was only used on the 3,200-km route between Moscow and Almaty. A replacement Ilyushin Il-62 subsonic airliner was on standby for each flight in case the Tu-144 developed technical problems prior to departure. At present, Russia's Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) is involved in developing a future supersonic passenger aircraft. The decision to restart production of the Tu-160 in its upgraded version was made back in 2015. The first modified bomber was rolled out in November 2017. Seeing as the Russian military budget is shrinking, the Tu-160 might become a less costly and more secure alternative to developing what is known as the PAK-DA next-generation strategic bomber.

Russia to produce LEAP powerplant components from 2018

ср, 03/01/2018 - 00:00
Russian aero-engine specialist UEC Saturn in 2018 will launch production of components for CFM International LEAP powerplants, which are intended for new-generation Airbus, Boeing, and COMAC narrowbody airliners. As follows from the company's corporate monthly publication, its division involved in the manufacture of blades for the SaM146 engine (the one powering the Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional jetliner) was harvested for specialists in 2017 to set up a dedicated team responsible for launching production of a LEAP component, which would require meeting 150 different parameters. UEC Saturn is understood to have been working actively to introduce the requisite manufacturing processes and get used to the associated production equipment. Series production will require purchases of extra equipment and the recruitment of additional personnel in 2018. In the summer of 2017, Safran International Vice-President for International Development Olivier Lafaye indicated the possibility of LEAP components being manufactured in Russia. According to him, the Franco-Russian JV VolgAero co-run by Safran Aircraft Engines and UEC Saturn had demonstrated an array of indigenous engine components at the 2017 MAKS exhibition outside Moscow. These included a labyrinth seal for the LEAP engine. Russia's United Engine Corporation, the parent of UEC Saturn, was not readily available for comment.

Winglet-equipped Superjet 100 makes first flight

пт, 22/12/2017 - 00:00
Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) regional jet equipped with winglets made its first flight on December 21 in Zhukovsky. The test aircraft with s. n. 95032 flew for 2 h 42 min and climbed to altitude of 11,000 m, the aircraft's manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) reports. The pilots assessed the aircraft's stability and controllability in different wing configurations. Tests were also conducted to measure fuel consumption at different stages and flight modes. Sabre-like wingtips fitted on the SSJ100 are dubbed saberlets and the result of research, engineering and experimental works SCAC conducted jointly with Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). The winglets are produced by Voronezh Aircraft Building Corporation. SCAC calculated that they may save SSJ100 operators up to 5 million rubles (some $90,000) per aircraft annually. SCAC reported that the SSJ100's wing console had been tested for winglets past summer. In November the manufacturer revealed that the winglets were undergoing ground tests. The company claims that in addition to saving fuel the winglets will improve the aircraft's runway performance and controllability. They may be installed on new aircraft or as a retrofit to the fleet in operation.

Superjet 100 to get Russian-made fire protection system

вт, 19/12/2017 - 00:00

Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) will get a new fire protection system designed by Technodinamika Holding, a part of Russia's industrial giant Rostec.

"We've got a contract with Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) in place for design and delivery of a fire protection system for SSJ100", the holding's director Igor Nasenkov explained. – "We have committed to start serial deliveries from 2019. The system is being designed right now".

He also added that certification of fire protection system for another new generation Russian aircraft, the MC-21 is slated for next year. Initially it was expected to complete before the end of this year. 

Notably, Technodinamika intends to become one of the major MRO providers for the MC-21. Speaking of the partnership with MC-21's airframer Irkut in terms of the new aircraft's maintenance, Rostec's head Sergey Chemezov explained, that the relationships with Irkut are at the preparation stage. "I hope that we will finalize all formalities in the nearest future and the agreement will be signed." He also said that the main MRO provider for the type will be Technodinamika's subsidiary – Aviation Equipment company.

"We expect that thanks to this contract Technodinamika will generate over $1 billion for MC-21 aftersale services within the next 10 years," added Nasenkov.

He also explained that according to Rostec's new strategy the share of civilian production in Technidinamika's output will reach 50% by 2025. "We must stick to this. This is our main target. This is absolutely correct - we all realize that  contracts for the state defense procurement are unstable," Nasenkov said.

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