Kremlin steps up production of domestic planes as sanctions sting
Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade released a revised plan calling for the production of 1,000 aircraft by domestic manufacturers until 2030. The policy, which is part of a coordinated Kremlin effort to counter the disruption of the country’s air transport sector by Western sanctions banning imported aircraft and parts, calls for 564 “major passenger types” with the following breakdown: 12 Ilyushin Il-96-300 jumbo jets, 270 new narrow-body airliners MC21-310 and 70 Tupolev Tu-214, 142 of Sukhoi’s new version of the SSJ-100 and 70 Il-114-300 regional turboprops. For operators on shorter routes, Russian manufacturers have also been tasked with producing more Ladoga, L-410 and Baikal commuter turboprops.
“At the same time, helicopter manufacturers will make 746 deliveries. Their main products will be the Ansat, for a total of 201, and the Mi-8, for a total of 276, because these two types are the most popular,” added government minister Denis Manturov during an address to Russian journalists at the International Economic Forum. will be held in St. Petersburg this week.
Manturov did not say explicitly where some of these planes could be exported but mentioned Egypt, Iran, India, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates among the friendly countries with whom detailed discussions are underway. during the forum.
The need to correct past aerospace production plans arose in late March when President Vladimir Putin issued a directive after the government meeting on aircraft construction and civil aviation development. “Together with the Ministry of Transport, my ministry has drawn up a new program for the development of the aviation industry until 2030. This document includes a new plan for the production of aircraft and helicopters, optimized for nomenclature, production cycles and delivery schedule,” Manturov explained.
Addressing the issue of customer commitments, Manturov said Russian carriers responded to the questionnaire from both ministries. “Under the conditions of Western sanctions and restrictions, the airlines have assured us that the plan we have drawn up for the production of new aircraft will be fully met with their solvent demand,” he said.
In addition to local design production, domestic manufacturers were also tasked “if necessary” with reverse engineering and production of local analogues to vendor items that were previously imported. This follows a recent decision by Russian aviation safety regulator Rosaviatsia to issue certificates to five Russian aerospace groups to develop parts for imported planes, including widely used Airbus and Boeing models. The agency also waived requirements for Russian airlines and their maintenance organizations to use only FAA and EASA certified parts.
Russian airlines are increasingly suffering from economic sanctions imposed by the West for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As partial compensation, the Kremlin promised them subsidies worth 110 billion rubles for operational activities, said Deputy Chairman of the Russian Government Andrei Belousov. After Airbus and Boeing stopped providing technical assistance for their planes deployed in the Russian fleet, the airlines warned that without government help, the domestic airline industry faces degradation, loss of pilots and professional technicians and bankruptcies.
To address the already existing shortage of airliners that could safely fly abroad without fear of seizure, the Kremlin ordered local industry to resume production of older Tupolev types. Last month, Aleksei Pesochin, Prime Minister of the member state of the Russian Federation, Tatarstan, informed the State Council of the Republic that the KAPO factory in Kazan, the Tatar capital, would complete 3 Tu- 214 next year, 7 units in 2024, then continue at a rate of 10 aircraft per year.
“In order to ensure this, we need to build a chain of industrial cooperation,” Pesochin said. “Despite significant investments from the federal budget in the plant, there is still a gray area and uncertainties.” Due to these difficulties, local manufacturers could, at best, produce only about 110 new airliners by 2025. As a result, Rostec, a state-owned company that controls all aircraft manufacturers in the country, said it would continue to retain the Il-96-300. in limited series production at the rate of two per year while admitting that the type is unpopular with airlines.
Rostec sees this approach as necessary to bridge the gap before Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation can put revised versions of the SSJ-100 and MC-21 into production. Both of these designs had to be adapted to take into account the unavailability of Western systems, especially the engines.