Before the meeting, the President examined the latest examples of attack and military transport helicopters at Rostvertol Helicopter Plant.
Rostvertol, a major industrial company, is part of the Russian Helicopters Holding. The plant commercially produces next-generation Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopters and Mi-35M gunship helicopters.
In addition, it continues to produce the Mi-24P helicopter, Mi-26T transport helicopter and its upgraded version, the Mi-26T2.
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Opening remarks at meeting on the development of Russian helicopter manufacturing sector
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
We have long been intending to talk about problems related to helicopter manufacturing. Also, I would like to look more closely at the problems and issues associated with manufacturing aircraft engines. We need to prepare and analyse this issue from all sides.
As for helicopter manufacturing sector, we just saw how one of the leading companies in the region – and in our aviation industry in general – the Rostov Helicopter Plant, operates. And I am pleased to note that for many decades now this plant has been producing military and civilian helicopters for some very well-known international brands. In general, we saw that the work is stable; adequate production facilities, technological conditions and human resources are in place.
And in general, in recent years Russian helicopter manufacturing sector has demonstrated satisfactory results; we see positive dynamic in the main economic and financial indicators. I am pleased to see this, as I already said.
Modern Russian helicopters have proven themselves to be reliable, good quality machines, with optimal technical equipment and prices. Among other things, this allows us to compete in international markets.
Firm orders for Russian Helicopters’ (of which the Rostov plant, where we are today, is a part) products – both for export and for the domestic market – already amount to 870 helicopters for a total of 388 billion rubles [about $12 billion] through to 2020. This year alone, Russian Helicopters Holding plans to produce 321 aircraft, almost twice the number delivered four years ago. And experts estimate that the company’s revenues have more than doubled since that time.
However, I can’t help but note that this growth was achieved mainly by producing military helicopters for the state defence order and under export contracts. And yet as we have often remarked, civil helicopter manufacturing contains unexploited opportunities and possibilities for growth. It is obvious that we must significantly overhaul this sector to ensure its balanced development and facilitate companies’ stable operation in the future. I am referring to significantly increasing the output and deliveries of civil helicopters both for export and for our own needs.
As for our domestic market, potential demand is very high here: this includes work in the Arctic and northern regions, special medical and rescue equipment, transport and passenger helicopters. In order to support the civil helicopter industry specifically, the federal budget will allocate about 36 billion rubles [slightly over $1 billion] to it by 2020.
It is important that these resources be used as effectively as possible. We need to create the technological foundations for future developments, and to modernise production. Let me remind you that these funds must come from two different programmes. The first is the federal targeted programme for the development of civil aeronautical equipment through to 2015, and the second is the state programme for developing aviation through to 2025. It is important that funds be allocated in a measured and timely fashion.
I draw your attention to the fact that domestic developments must comply with the most cutting-edge market requirements, both with regards to technology, materials, and other things. We have to carefully analyse complaints – they exist too – and address shortcomings promptly. We need to constantly work to ensure the competitiveness of our products, in the light of the fact that leading global helicopter manufacturers will not be resting on their laurels.
Today I would ask you to report separately on how you plan to organise work to upgrade technology used by companies operating in this sector.
In addition, it is important to ensure that the system governing all the stages of the machinery’s life cycle – from its development, to maintenance and even disposal – is functioning properly.
I know that experts at Russian Helicopters Holding have set themselves ambitious targets: they want to cover 18 percent of the global market by 2020, produce at least 470 helicopters per year, and increase sales and services to at least 240 billion rubles [about $7.2 billion].
Today we will discuss what the industry needs to achieve these goals, how to improve the efficiency of companies, design centres and subcontractors, and, of course, the effectiveness of government support.
Let’s get to work.