President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Slyusar, let’s review the presentation and the company’s key projects.
Also, please tell me briefly about preparations for the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS.
General Director of the United Aircraft Corporation Yury Slyusar: Mr President,preparations for MAKS are in full swing. The salon is opening on July 20.
Despite the current restrictions due to the pandemic, we still hope that the event will attract a similar number of businesses and visitors as in 2019.
All of our regular partners, both countries and companies, accepted our invitation. This year’s partner country is Kazakhstan. Of course, we are preparing some surprises, a few new releases so it would be wonderful to see you there.
Vladimir Putin: Of course, I will visit, as always.
Yury Slyusar: It is opening on July 20.
Vladimir Putin: Ok.
Yury Slyusar: Now, to the programmes, Mr President.
It has been less than a year since our last meeting. First of all, I would like to update you on the developments in civil aviation.
Sukhoi Superjet is the aircraft that has been in active use during this difficult time, during the pandemic, against the background of decline in aviation services. Some 155 planes are currently in operation, with 30 more to be added this year. That is more than 180 aircraft by the end of the year.
In the past year, thanks to investment, among other things, we managed to increase the serviceability rate by ten percent. The average number of flight hours per aircraft has increased to seven or eight hours, which is similar to the competitors with which we are always compared. Airlines are happy too, because 100-seat aircraft are now operated on flights that used 200-seat aircraft.
I can say that we are getting close to the point where Superjets will be the core fleet of regional airlines, and these aircraft will fly people domestically, including on flights bypassing Moscow, to develop the support system that is needed.
Vladimir Putin: Regional carriers.
Yury Slyusar: Yes.
The programme for creating domestic systems, first of all, the PD-8 engine as an alternative to the Russian-French one, is proceeding according to schedule. Our engine manufacturers have reported considerable achievements, and we hope to have our own, domestically made engine, which will be offered to clients along with the French one, within a matter of two years.
Large-scale investment in after-sale services has produced the desired effect. We have no problem with the supply of spare parts; we have enough for both our airlines and producers, which means that all the efforts that have been made recently, including financial ones, in the field of investment, have yielded results.
Therefore, we believe that the situation with the Sukhoi Superjet is normal thanks to the support measures. Thank you for the decision to issue state guarantees for the supply of 59 Sukhoi Superjet aircraft, which has allowed us and our colleagues at Promsvyazbank to sign contracts with Aeroflot and the Rossiya airline. The Red Wings and the Azimuth airline based in Rostov-on-Don, they all have received the airliners, which they are using happily.
As for MC-21, it has made over 500 flights and is undergoing an intensive programme of bench and flight testing. The wing made with Russian-produced composite materials has recently passed one of the main trials, the so-called reverse impact test.
We used a unique technology to make the wing from composite materials, the so-called infusion technology, which allows the creation of a longer wing with improved aerodynamics and cheaper at that.
We have learned to apply this technology; a special plant has been built in Ulyanovsk for this purpose, next to the plant where Il-76s are manufactured, AeroComposit-Ulyanovsk. It is there that we “bake” these airplane wings, in the literal sense of the word, and deliver them to Irkutsk where they are connected to the plane’s body before they reach the client.
One of the main tasks for us now has to do with technology: to increase production to 36 planes by 2025 and to double the figure to 72 in the next two years after that.
The plane enjoys considerable demand. According to conservative estimates, Russian airlines alone will buy some 600 planes [of this class] in the next decade. But we hope that the MC-21 aircraft will take up a considerable part of the domestic market, including thanks to the government’s incentive support measures. We must be technologically ready for this.
Regarding the equipment that has been installed not only at the final assembly plant in Irkutsk, but also at other production facilities, our plans provide for using it not only in the batch production of the models that are ready for the market, but also in order to create new units and systems.
I would like to repeat that this is not simple import replacement, because it includes the creation of new-generation systems, which will allow us to not just replace foreign-made components with domestically produced ones, but also to offer the market new systems at attractive prices.
Therefore, the immediate task is to launch large-scale production of MC-21.
The 114th aircraft [Ilyushin Il-114–300].
Vladimir Putin: When did we start?
Yury Slyusar: The first flight, if you remember, took place in December, and the aircraft went ahead with test flights right away.
Vladimir Putin: When did we start working on it?
Yury Slyusar: You supported this idea then; it was four years ago.
Vladimir Putin: The timeframe is OK, it is normal.
Yury Slyusar: Right now, the aircraft is undergoing intensive tests, and a second flight [model] is being built in the town of Lukhovitsy, where we make our MiG-29 aircraft. The Aurora Company in the Russian Far East (a project related to it is being considered, and it has separate support) has ordered 19 such aircraft.
Let me remind you that our modest plans imply the production of 12 aircraft per year, but we hope that the market, including support measures, and air mobility in hard-of-access regions will boost the demand for this aircraft.
As far as strategic aviation is concerned, Mr President, the situation is balanced and we have signed contracts with our customer, the Defence Ministry. The contracts are both for the production of new [Tupolev] Tu-160 aircraft and for the modernisation of the existing strategic fleet. The plant in Kazan will thus have a stable workload for the next ten years.
Vladimir Putin: For seven years at the least.
Yury Slyusar: For seven years at the least. If we proceed from the plans voiced by the customer, it will be for a longer period.
The long-term programme for long-range aviation is proceeding in accordance with the schedule.
As far as operational and tactical aviation is concerned, the main event last year, in December, was the delivery of the first batch-produced Sukhoi Su-57. This year, we will supply four such aircraft. Our task for the future – along with cooperation – is to reach the level of 12 aircraft per year. We have signed a contract with the Defence Ministry for a total of 76 such aircraft.
We hope that hundreds of these aircraft will be ordered, given that this plane has been chosen as a platform for addressing a wide range of tasks.
Our aim is to be ready for this in technological terms, including through taking into account the new objectives that the customer has assigned to this aircraft. We expect to start designing several varieties of this aircraft, to start R&D on this, later this year.
Vladimir Putin: Ok.