Russian Aircraft Developments Described at Farnborough

 - July 20, 2012, 3:40 PM
Russian Helicopters was one of 55 Russian companies or agencies exhibiting at the 2012 Farnborough airshow. (Photo: Chris Pocock)

The Russian aerospace industry made a strong showing at the Farnborough airshow last week, with 55 entities represented. The Russian presence included a Yak-130 combat trainer, an Aeroflot SSJ100 jetliner, and SaM146 and PD14 turbofan engines. The Ka-62 helicopter–a civil version of the military multirole Ka-62–made its international debut in the form of a full-scale mockup. Kamov said for the first time that the Ka-60 has military orders and has been put into production.

Russian Helicopters and AgustaWestland signed for joint development of an all-new helicopter in the 2.5-tonne-mtow class, and they anticipate starting production in 2015. Although this is going to be a civil product, the move is understood to have been influenced by the Russian ministry of defense (MoD), which recently expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of existing new Russian light helicopters: the Ansat-U, Mi-2A and Mi-34. The MoD declared that they are unsuitable for training military pilots and said it plans to acquire a number of Eurocopter Fennecs as a temporary solution.

Although previewed by Farnborough’s organizers, two Su-27 fighters of the Russian Knights display team were no-shows. Top officials in the Russian delegation explained that the application to exhibit the aircraft was not submitted to the Russian authorities in time for clearance. In this context, they noted that Russia exercises the “strictest control” over arms exports; Moscow has been severely criticized in the West recently for continuing to supply arms to the Syrian regime.

United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) president Mikhail Pogosyan told journalists at Farnborough that military production will fall from today’s 80 percent of the UAC total to 58 percent in 2014 due to the rapid expansion of civil and special-mission business. UAC is studying a modern lightweight tactical airlifter to replace the long serving An-26. Pogosyan acknowledged that the Il-112 project in the same category ran into difficulties due to overspending and inadequate orders. He confirmed plans for the restart of An-124 heavy-lifter production in 2014. The new-build aircraft will feature modern avionics and offer “much lower operational costs.” Pogosyan expects a contract for R&D on the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) project with India to be signed in August, greenlighting the start of its development. In the meantime, the prototype of the Il-476–a modernized Il-76–is scheduled to make its first flight in October.