Metal Cut on First Il-114-300 Regional Turboprop

 - February 14, 2020, 9:44 AM
Work on the Ilyushin Il-114-300 regional turboprop has transitioned from the computer screen to the metal shop, as the first fuselage sections begin to take shape.

Russia's United Aircraft Corporation reported it has cut the first metal on a fuselage for the Ilyushin Il-114-300 regional turboprop. All seven fuselage sections will be made at the Sokol factory in Nizhny Novgorod that belongs to the Russian Aircraft Corporation 'MiG' (RAC MiG), a member of UAC. The manufacturer's statement, issued on February 14, said the very first example is "being made to serial technologies," meaning there will be no prototyping.

As per industrial cooperation under the UAC umbrella, the final assembly of fuselages, as well as the whole aircraft, will be set up at another RAC MiG factory, that in Lukhovitsy, Moscow Region. It shall receive major subassemblies from Sokol, as well as Aviastar in Ulianovsk and VASO in Voronezh.

According to RAC MiG general director Ilya Tarasenko, who was recently appointed as head of Sukhoi while keeping the other post, in 2019 the company invested over Rouble 400 million into production preparations for the project.

The industrial cooperation members rely completely on paperless digital technologies, working in "a common data environment," the statement claims. "Today, we are already working with the Ilyushin design house and manufacturing plants [outside of the RAC MiG structure] using that common data environment, and this is one of the synergy effects achieved on the way of setting up a seamless industrial cooperation in [the framework] of the given project," Tarasenko is quoted as saying.

Under the Kremlin's orders, The Il-114-300 is to be a completely Russian product without imported vendor items. Accordingly, the Pratt & Whitney PW127 engines on the previous Il-114-100 version are to be replaced by indigenous Klimov TV7-117SM turboprops. Furthermore, the Collins avionics package will give way to a similar one from Russia's KRET. The Il-114-300 will feature a glass cockpit for two pilots on five large-format multifunction displays, according to Ilyushin. Initially set for this year, the maiden flight for the Il-114-300 has recently been postponed until 2021 and service entry to 2023.

The original Il-114 flew 30 years ago, won type certification in 1997, and began revenue services in 2000. Ilyushin's design house built one prototype and the TAPO factory in the Uzbekistan's capital city of Tashkent 17 more. The last production examples feature Canadian propulsion and U.S. avionics, and flew on Uzbekistan Airways' route network till May 2018. Today, Russia operates only one example as a test-bed for maritime defense systems.

Following a chill in East-West relations, the Kremlin decided to re-launch production of the Il-114 at RAC MiG instead of the earlier plan to set up license production of the Bombardier Q400. Russia's domestic demand for the type is estimated at 100 units.