Russian aircraft industry outlook
United Aircraft Corporation increases share of its civil products
In early March the first meeting of the Aviation Collegium
under the Government of the Russian Federation was held in Moscow. The Collegium
is focused on overall coordination of efforts of government authorities and
manufacturers to develop the Russian aircraft industry. Speaking at the meeting,
Yuri Slyusar, President of the United Aircraft Corporation confirmed that Russia
will be developing and manufacturing both military and civil aircraft. Meanwhile
the share of its civil segment is to grow at an outperforming rate. Bringing to
market new advanced civil aircraft along with traditionally successful combat
airframes will make UAC a much bigger player in possession of wide range of
innovative aviation products. Besides, according to Yuri Slyusar, now UAC is
establishing a global after-sales maintenance system dedicated to servicing
Russian civil aircraft.
The United Aircraft Corporation of Russia (UAC), which under one company
represents the most well-known Russian aviation brands such as Sukhoi, MiG,
Tupolev, Yakovlev, Beriev and others, is today among the world’s biggest
manufacturers and suppliers of aircraft. In December 2016 as part of an effort
to expand foreign presence UAC was given a military-dedicated foreign trade
license that allows to directly render services to foreign customers. The
military-dedicated foreign trade license has been issued by Federal Service for
Military and Technical cooperation. This will help UAC improve maintenance and
repairs of equipment previously delivered abroad, which includes all previously
supplied Su, MiG, Il, Yak and Tu aircraft.
Due to the success of its products UAC’s revenues have been lately growing on
average more than 20% per year. Sukhoi Superjet 100 civil airliners, Su-30 and
MiG-29 fighters, Yak-130 operational trainers are among the most popular
aircraft exported by UAC.
The document received by UAC is to much more simplify foreign market procedures,
which is good news for present-day and future UAC’s partners worldwide.
Alongside with the right for direct maintenance and repairs of the equipment
previously delivered abroad, the document also specifies UAC’s capabilities to
update such equipment and train foreign personnel to maintain and repair UAC
products. Besides, the license authorizes UAC to establish joint ventures abroad
which can maintain and repair aircraft.
The license enables UAC to proceed to coordinated efforts in this area, develop
a single enterprise after-sale service system based on current experience and
ensure the most efficient activities at markets with several brands available.
The new capabilities confirm there is a steadily growing demand for UAC
aircraft. Moreover, operational reliability and competitive prices become
increasingly significant. In this regard there is a reasonable increase of
export of Russian aircraft having better reliability, up-to-dateness and
well-balanced prices both for airplanes and further maintenance. According to
experts, it is Russian aircraft which in terms of life-cycle cost appear today
as the most attractive in international markets.
UAC products include many aircraft which are proven international bestsellers.
Thus, Su fighters exported by Russia number in the hundreds making these
fighters come second and first worldwide. In 2011-2014s Su planes were the first
in amount: in four years customers have received 139 aircraft, while Lockheed
Martin delivered only 89 and Boeing delivered 60 planes.
UAC places big stakes on supplying fighter planes given that many countries plan
to have their fighter fleets upgraded. Among the most world popular planes is
the Yak-130 operational trainer which has been already delivered and is being
delivered to a number of countries. This is a top-class aircraft. It can be
upgraded as a light fighter or close support plane which is highly demanded by
air forces in the world.
However, Russian aviation export is notable not only for military aircraft. In
recent years good results have been shown by the civil segment for which UAC has
been making big plans. Among Russian civil aircraft the new generation Sukhoi
Superjet 100 regional aircraft is the most popular at foreign markets. The
aircraft combines new aircraft engineering technologies, passenger comfort,
significant economic advantages for airlines and proper environmental
The key advantage of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 is lower operational costs as
compared to its competitors. Operational costs are minimized due to higher fuel
efficiency and lower take-off weight. According independent data, its ownership
cost is averagely 15-20% lower than the other similar class aircraft. The highly
competitive lease rate supported by a state guarantee of residual value is also
worth being taken into account.
The SSJ100, capable of carrying up to 98 passengers, is the first in its class
aircraft featuring five-across seating, with big 32-inch seat pitch. Thanks to a
combination of wider seats and higher cabin (over 2 meters) SSJ100 has more
cabin space and bigger stowage bin capacity than such of competitors. The
airplane has been built with the use of the latest design procedures and
technologies by leading international manufacturers such as Snecma, Thales,
Goodrich and Honeywell. One of the versions of the interior has been designed by
Italian office Pininfarina. In February 2012 the aircraft was certified by the
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
At the same time UAC is working on creating a 150-210-seat MS-21 narrow-body
aircraft family. Estimated volume of production is up to 72 aircraft per year.
Today the backlog for these aircraft is 175 orders. There is also interest
towards the future aircraft in foreign markets. ‘We should sell internationally
hundreds of aircraft. This is our goal in the civil segment’, emphasized Yuri
Russia and Malaysia
Aviation relations between Russia and Malaysia have quite deep and multi-faceted
history. It is enough to mention that in 2007 Russia supported the space flight
of the first Malaysian cosmonaut Sheikh Muszaphar. In October 10, 2007 as a crew
member aboard Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft he went to the international space station
and spent 11 days in space, which were so fateful for Malaysia.
Besides, let us recall that as early as in 1996 Malaysia purchased 18 MiG-29
fighter planes from Russia. Not later than seven years after the countries
signed a contract under which Russia was to deliver to Royal Malaysian Royal Air
Force 18 Su-30MKM planes totaling to about $900 million. Noteworthy is that the
contract was signed while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting Kuala
In addition to just production and delivery under Su-30MKM deal Russia undertook
training of pilots and maintenance personnel of the Royal Malaysian Air Force,
which was conducted in Malaysia, to operate those latest fighter planes.
Besides, the contract covered the delivery of armament and inventory required
for the planes.
Su-30MKM has been modified to suit Malaysian specific requests and character of
operations and climate. The plane has been based on well-known Su-30MKI used by
the Indian Air Force since 2002. Chief Designer Alexander Barkovsky believes
that ‘Su-30MKM is another step in the development of the Su-30 platform’. The
Malaysian version has a number of distinctive features mostly related to
The ceremonial delivery of the first two serial Su-30MKM held in Irkutsk was
attended by a substantial Malaysian delegation headed by Malaysian Royal Air
Force commander-in-chief General Azizan Bin Ariffin. The first Su-30MKM were
delivered to Malaysian Air Force airbase Gong Kedak in Kelantan. The ceremonial
induction into service of Su-30MKM was held at the Subang airfield near Kuala
Lumpur and was attended by Malaysian Vice Prime Minister and Defense Minister
Najib Abdul Razak and Head of the Army General Paduk Abdul Aziz Zainal. So far
all 18 Su-30MKM have been delivered. The aircraft are well regarded by Malaysian
There is also cooperation between our countries in civil aviation with quite a
number of good examples. Thus, Malaysia takes an active interest in Russian
medium haul MS-21 aircraft. The aircraft was unveiled last year. The dedicated
works are being carried out as scheduled. The first flight is expected soon.
Malaysia is also familiar with unique Russian amphibian airplanes considered to
be the most efficient in firefighting. In October 2015 two multi-purpose
amphibious Be-200ChS aircraft were involved in fighting large forest fires in
Kalimantan and Sumatra islands. The fires caused much smoke in Indonesia,
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines.
Much attention in the Asia-Pacific region is also paid to the new Russian
passenger Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.
Increasing volume of SSJ100
According to UAC President Yuri Slyusar the Corporation has stable rate of mass
production of the Sukhoi Superjet 100. There are plans to deliver not less than
30 aircraft every year to customers. Today about one hundred SSJ100s are being
operated including those in a number of world regions, from South America to
Currently with available manufacturing capabilities UAC enterprises are capable
of producing up to sixty Sukhoi Superjet 100 per year. The Russian aircraft
sparkles profound interest in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Experts confirm
that in the context of 70-100-seaters this aircraft is becoming the most
attractive for many international airlines. When interviewed Yuri Slyusar says
UAC is intended to focus on further development of the Sukhoi Superjet 100
aircraft family to offer customers a range of regional planes.
It is worth noting that today a business jet version of the SSJ100s is also
available. As a result of a number of upgrades, including auxiliary fuel tanks
installation and other engineering solutions the range of the business version
of the SSJ100 is increased to about 8,000km-long nonstop flight.
BBy the way, last year two VIP versions of the Sukhoi SuperJet aircraft were
delivered to the Royal Air Force of Thailand. The business version aircraft
(Sukhoi Business Jet (SBJ)) are designed to carry country leaders and defense
establishment of Thailand. The delivered SBJs are the first business jets of the
company purchased by an Asia Pacific customer.