Make in India with UAC
Russia and India have been long-standing strategic partners in aircraft industry. And, if in the second half of the XX-th century the cooperation was limited only to Russian-made combat aircraft deliveries, this century witnesses a new stage of cooperation - licensed production of aircraft. In 2000 a related agreement was signed on Su-30MKI production at the HAL Corporation facilities. The first two aircraft were assembled at the Nasik-based plant in 2004. In October 2005 the Indian built aircraft made its maiden flight and in November it was handed to the Indian Air Force.
By now the Indian engineers and workers have incorporated vast experience mastering the complete cycle of Su-30MKI 4th -generation aircraft production. The HAL Corporation is able to assemble 15-18 aircraft per year to be employed for several years ahead.
Nowadays cooperation has been strengthened to be based on the mutual programs. One should mention first of all the 5th generation fighter – FGFA with a Russian prototype currently under successful trials. This project has become a visible proof of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) intention to create high-tech products together with foreign partners. Another joint program is the Multirole transport aircraft (MTA). A Russian-Indian joint venture was created titled “Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd.” (MTA Ltd.). A stage of preliminary design has been passed to form up requirements to this aircraft to proceed for full-scale R&D.
SSJ – a flag-ship of UAC’s commercial aviation
India is also attractive for the Russian aviation industry from the point of view of the commercial aviation promotion. At the moment the main UAC product in this field is the SSJ 100 which has been actively marketed for India, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Sukhoi Superjet 100 is a commercial aircraft built on the latest technology and can carry up to 100 passengers. According to various experts it is one of the best aircraft in its class to meet the highest European and Russian flight safety levels. This year the SSJ production rate has reached 4 aircraft per month, around 40 airplanes will be produced in 2014.
Initially the SSJ 100 has been targeting the Russian market and its flight carrier Aeroflot which currently is using 11 aircraft. The main non-Russian customer has become the Mexican Interjet airline which ordered 20 aircraft with 10 more as an option. Since September 2013 Interjet has received eleven aircraft. According to the Interjet CEO Jose Luis Garcia “the Russian aircraft meets our expectations and airline requirements. We are very pleased with our choice; the flight dispatch reliability is over 99%, high level of comfort and low operational cost. We have chosen SSJ 100 for its un-parallel comfort – 93 passenger seats with a step of 34 inches, low level of direct operational cost and fuel consumption which are much better than the competitors have”.
According to the airline data SSJ 100 through the year of operation with over 12,000 flights had not a single case of a flight cancellation on technical reasons with a maximum flight time of 12,6 hours per aircraft per day.
At the moment around 40 Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft are in commercial operation with over 46,000 flights and 67,000 flight-hours in total. According to UAC there is a strong demand for the SSJ 100 type aircraft with various airlines in different countries. There are existing plans to validate SSJ100 with the Chinese aviation authorities. UAC has already passed such a procedures in Mexico, Indonesia and Laos.
A perfect addition to the SSJ 100 family is the VIP version of the plane – the Sukhoi Business Jet (SBJ). The first aircraft equipped with the highly comfortable cabin that can accommodate up to 19 passengers, is handed over to the airline that will operate the jet for Rosoboronexport. By the way, a good part of the Russian delegation for the summit in India has arrived on this same airplane.
“The existing version will be next year upgraded to include additional fuel tanks that will increase the range to 6000 km. Later, in 2016 a special new modification will be developed with new wing shape and tail, winglets and further increased fuel tanks. The range should increase up to 8000 km, attracting new customers with this feature,” – says Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, being among the first passengers of the new business jet.
The program to create the business line based on the SSJ 100 will develop even further. The aircraft will have three modifications: VIP, Corporate and Government. All variants can be equipped with a separate cabinet, a conference room and rooms for accompanying passengers.
UAC’s main goal currently is to increase the serial production of its newest aircraft models in civil, military and transport aircraft market segments. The Corporation’s product line including aircraft under development spans to about 20 aircraft. In addition to the civil SSJ 100 special attention should be devoted to the serially produced and supplied to the Russian AF Su-35S and Su-30SM, the Yak-130 combat trainer and the heavy transport Il-76MD-90A. The fifth generation fighter and the next generation strategic bomber and being developed, as well as the civil MS-21 and the long range widebody aircraft, the latter being developed in cooperation with China.
According to the approved development strategy the Corporation should by 2025 become the third largest aircraft producer. The revenue from civil aircraft sales should reach half of total UAC’s revenues, outgrowing other segments. Currently, UAC’s revenues on average grow by 20% per annum.