President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
I called this meeting today to discuss the prospects for developing our own plane for regional flights, with capacity for 50–60 passengers.
We all know the difficulties we face in passenger transport in the Far East, Eastern Siberia, and within regions. Often, people wanting to fly to the neighbouring region have to fly via Moscow or St Petersburg. This is a completely unacceptable situation and creates problems for people and for the economy in general. Accessibility and transport links increase mobility within the economy and create the needed conditions for growth.
In this context, it would be a great help indeed to have our own regional plane, particularly one that can land on and take off from unsealed airstrips. At one time, we had many such planes, a big fleet that was widely used, but they have all aged now and it makes no sense to go back to them. What we need now is a new plane.
Of course, it is also possible to buy aircraft abroad, as we have been doing up till now, but a country such as ours, with such a vast territory, really needs to have its own locally-made planes.
Accessibility and transport links increase mobility within the economy and create the needed conditions for growth. In this context, it would be a great help indeed to have our own regional plane, particularly one that can land on and take off from unsealed airstrips.
But at the same time, if we do set this goal, we must develop a plane that will have good prospects not just on our market but will also be competitive on the global market. This is something we must think about.
Let us talk about this. I asked you to prepare. I would like to ask the Industry Minister to begin our conversation today. Mr Manturov, please.
Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov: Thank you, Mr President. In keeping with your instruction, we have prepared several options, so that a balanced decision can be made.
We would also like to take advantage of this opportunity and discuss the Il-96 issue regarding the programme’s continuation.
Vladimir Putin: The Il-96, are you referring to the enlarged fuselage?
Denis Manturov: The fuselage has been extended by almost 10 metres, increasing the capacity by 71 passengers, and this will improve the economic characteristics. So I would also like to discuss this matter as far as possible.
Going back to the main subject, these are regional airplanes. We are considering three main options.
The first is the Il-114, which was previously made in Tashkent. Its production stopped a long time ago, but, nevertheless, there are several fuselages that can make it possible for this modification to launch in our country in short order so as, while continuing R&D, to prepare independent production.
According to the United Aircraft Corporation, cooperation between practically all enterprises as part of this integrated structure, with the main plant, Sokol, including Aviastar-SP and the Voronezh plant, will make it possible in 2022 to manufacture a full-scale series of 12 aircraft per year. This is first.
Later, I would like to talk directly about the resources that are required for the implementation of this option.
Vladimir Putin: Is this a turboprop?
Denis Manturov: Yes, it is a turboprop plane. I would like to point out that the engine that can be used in this airplane is the TV7-117. It is now used as a basic engine for the Mi-38 helicopter. With minor, insignificant adjustments, we will be able to adapt it to this plane.
The second option is the AN-140, an aircraft currently manufactured in small numbers. You heard a report about it when you visited Samara in 2014.
A country such as ours needs to have its own locally-made planes. But at the same time, if we do set this goal, we must develop a plane that will have good prospects not just on our market but will also be competitive on the global market.
The Defence Ministry purchases this craft in small numbers. However, it seats only 50, compared to the IL-114, which seats 64. Here, we closely depend on Ukrainian designers and manufacturers. We are willing to discuss terms for purchasing a relevant license with our colleagues engaged in this civil project, and so to localise it entirely. We have analysed the option.
I will tell you next about funding.
Vladimir Putin: Is it a jet?
Denis Manturov: No, it is another turboprop.
Vladimir Putin: Is the engine on top?
Denis Manturov: Yes it is, like in the AN-148, but the latter is a jet. Here we have TV3-117 engines of Ukrainian production.
As you know, we have launched the production of VK-2500 engines, entirely adaptable to this craft. It is a Russian engine produced by Klimov Co in St Petersburg.
There is a third option – the Russian-Chinese project for yet another turboprop, the MA-700, seating 83. Our colleagues are ready to start testing it next year for the craft to be certified in 2019. We are invited to join this localisation project and organise production in the [Russian] Far East. We have seen several plants from this point: particularly, we might use the Arsenyev Aviation Plant, 250 kilometres from Vladivostok.
Jets come last but not least, as a fourth option. They allow settling both problems and arranging regional transport.
There is the TU-324 craft, for which we have made exploratory studies. We did not go on with research and development because we concentrated on the MS-21, and shelved the TU-324 R&D. It is a jet seating 50, which might be used for administrative movements.
We have prepared all the four options for today, and we dare ask you to consider them. Mr Slyusar [United Aircraft Corporation president] is willing to make detailed reports on each.
Vladimir Putin: Good.