Light multi-purpose aircraft An-2
In the meantime, the An-2 long-lived aircraft remains the main workhorse of domestic small aviation, which first flew up to the sky back in 1947. Serial production of this aircraft was completely completed in the USSR in the 1971 year, while under license, the aircraft continued to be assembled in Poland and China. Despite its more than venerable age, according to the information of FSUE SibNIA named after S.A. Chaplygin, in the middle of 2017, about 90 percent of all tasks of small aviation in the Russian Federation are still carried out by light multi-purpose An-2 aircraft, which are popularly nicknamed "Annushka" and "Corn".
With the replacement of the An-2 will be determined in September 2019 of the year
Specialists of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia plan to make a decision about which light aircraft will eventually replace the old An-2 in September of the 2019, which was announced recently by the press service of the ministry. 1,25 billion rubles has been allocated from the budget for experimental design work on the creation of a new light-engine aircraft. Moreover, it is already known that when creating a new aircraft, the best practices, technical solutions and the whole backlog obtained during the creation of the TVS-2DTS Baikal aircraft will be used. The development of this experimental machine with the widespread use of composite materials in construction has been done for a long time by aviation specialists from SibNIA from Novosibirsk.
At the same time, it was previously stated several times that this particular model of the aircraft, TVS-2DTS, would go into mass production, although the launch dates were postponed several times. So, back in April 2018 of the year, the official website of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia reported that serial production of the new TVS-2DTS aircraft, created by specialists of the Siberian Aviation Research Institute, will begin in Ulan-Ude on the basis of the local aviation plant, which is part of the Helicopters Corporation Of Russia. ” It was planned to start serial production of a new small-engine small aircraft in the 2021 year, and Polar Airlines from Yakutia were to become the first operator of the new aircraft.
Now, in the best case, the start of mass production of a new aircraft is shifting to the end of the 2022 of the year. This term was indicated by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, Yuri Trutnev, who visited the aviation plant in Ulan-Ude in July 2019. According to a senior official, the end of the 2022 of the year is the deadline set by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia and the aircraft factory.
Light multi-purpose aircraft TVS-2DTS
If in April 2018 of the year the Ministry of Industry and Trade said that it was TVS-2DTS that went into serial production, in August of 2019 of the year it became known that the decision on the fate of this aircraft and which technological features of this project would be used in creating a new car has not yet been adopted. The Rossiyskaya Gazeta in the Ministry of Industry and Trade was told that TVS-2DTS is an experimental model of an aircraft that was created to practice new technologies. Taking into account the technical backlog obtained under this project, a new production aircraft is being created under the LMS program (light multi-purpose aircraft).
So far, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia is looking for a R&D contractor to create a replacement for the outdated multi-purpose An-2 aircraft. It is expected that the contractor by December 2019 will present a general view of the new aircraft, as well as a set of outline design documentation. By September next year, a set of design documentation for a prototype of a new light multi-purpose aircraft should be ready, and it is planned to assemble a prototype of the aircraft by the end of the 2020 of the year.
Why TVS-2DTS from serial to experimental
The aircraft, which over the past few years has been touted as a potentially production model to replace the An-2 and actively participated in various exhibitions and air shows, suddenly turned into an experimental machine. It is no secret to anyone that it is extremely difficult to understand the decisions of the Russian government and it seems that this is exactly the case. The plane, which they wanted to assemble in series in Ulan-Ude, suddenly ceased to satisfy the state with something. Why there was another shift in the launch dates for the series and a new R&D contract with a total value of more than a billion rubles appeared, we can only speculate.
It is only known for certain that TVS-2DTS surpassed the legendary Kukuruznik in its flight performance. So, the cruising speed of the car increased to 330 km / h, the ferry range to 4500 km, and the payload to 3,5 tons. The features of the Novosibirsk aircraft included a new wing, a “glass” cockpit and a new fuselage. The highlight of the aircraft was to be the widespread use of composite materials. And the use of modern avionics made it possible to operate the aircraft at any time of the day and made it all-weather.
Light multi-purpose aircraft TVS-2DTS
True, the story with the Superjet is repeated here, when the aircraft is Russian only on paper. In fact, the heart of the TVS-2DTS was supposed to be the American Honeywell TPE331-12UAN multi-fuel turboprop engine, developing power up to 1100 hp and allowing the plane to fly on kerosene and gasoline. The five-blade propeller and the aircraft equipment complex were also developed by the Americans, Hartzell Propeller Inc was involved in the production of the propeller, and Garmin was the avionics company. Separate mention should be made of composite materials; the new aircraft was planned to be made integral. And here again it is not a fact that it was a question of the Russian composite. As the Far Eastern editorial office of RBC wrote back in 2018, the creators of the aircraft refused to use the Russian composite because of its high cost.
In recent Russian history, such a scheme for organizing production has not taken off on the example of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft, from 55 to 80 percent of the filling of which in different years was foreign components. Such a scheme for a small aircraft is fraught with even greater problems with the supply of spare parts, repair and maintenance, as well as the choice of repair plants themselves. Separately, one can note the story of the Russian medium-range airliner MS-21, the main feature of which was to become a composite wing. At the same time, the start of mass production of the airliner was postponed for at least a year due to the US refusal to supply composite materials, American sanctions were to blame. Initially, the manufacturer relied on composite materials of American and Japanese production by Hexcel and Toray Industries, respectively.
Perhaps the TVS-2DTS project was faced with the same problem as its older brother. At the same time, the aircraft initially did not fit well with the import substitution policy declared by the Russian government. Probably, it was precisely the large share of foreign components and materials, as well as the increasing cost of the aircraft, that caused the Ministry of Industry and Trade to initiate a new R&D stage to create a light multi-purpose aircraft. Most likely, the novelty will be distinguished by a large volume of domestic components and assemblies.
Russia just needs small aircraft
Such a country as Russia, small aviation is vitally necessary, it is clear to any person who studied geography at school. The size of the country initially contributed to the development of air service. Many regions of Russia are larger than certain countries of the world, for example, not the largest Udmurtia is 1,5 times larger than Belgium and slightly larger than Holland in area, and the neighboring Kirov region is already three times larger in area than the home of the Kalashnikov assault rifle. Needless to say, both of these subjects of the federation today simply do not have small aircraft. A resident of the Soviet Union could easily afford a flight from Samara to Saratov, having traveled about 440 km by air. Today, in order to fly from a million-plus city to a city with a population of almost 850 thousand people, it is necessary to make a flight with a transfer in Moscow with a total duration of 11 hours, is this not a miracle. Today it is commonplace for a country in which 1400 remains from 200 small aviation aerodromes and not all of these two hundred are actively operated.
Although in some form small aviation has been preserved in the Far North, Siberia and the Far East of the country, where it often remains the only means of delivering passengers and goods to remote settlements. Specialists of the Ministry of Industry and Trade note that more than 28 of thousands of settlements in Russia today do not have ground communications, that is, they are cut off from the "big land", and in the 15 Russian regions small aircraft are the main component of the transport system. That is why the aircraft, which should come to replace the An-2, is of such great importance.
Today, the brainchild of Antonov Design Bureau, created at the end of the 1940's, remains the main workhorse of small aircraft, but the number of Kukuruznikov in Russia is only slightly larger than 200 units, all of these aircraft must be changed. In an interview with the newspaper “Vzglyad”, the observer of the magazine “Arsenal of the Fatherland” and aviation expert Dmitry Drozdenko noted that in Yakutia, whose territory is larger than India, the authorities sounded the alarm last year. Today, in this region, which is very dependent on small aircraft, 80 percent of the fleet is aircraft aged over 30 years. According to the expert, by 2026 the fleet of local aviation, represented by An-24, An-2 aircraft and Mi-8 helicopters, will have to be completely written off.
Attempts to create a new aircraft for small aircraft in Russia or to launch mass production of foreign counterparts have already been made many times. Only from 2008 of the year in Russia were the projects of the Rysachok plane of Tekhnoavia company, Expedition of the private MVEN company from Kazan, as well as options for serial assembly in Canada of Canadian Twin Otter and American Cessna discussed. All these projects ended in nothing. Separately, we can single out the localization of production in Russia of the regional twin-engine Czech aircraft L-410 with 19 passengers, which nevertheless began to be collected individually by piece in Yekaterinburg in 2018 on the basis of the Ural Civil Aviation Plant.
L-410 assembled at the Ural Civil Aviation Plant
The main problem that prevents Russia from developing small aircraft and finally creating a new aircraft for it, most experts consider the low solvency of the country's inhabitants. The population, which should be the main consumer of this service, is characterized by weak purchasing power. The small aviation market collapsed. Today, local airlines account for only three percent of Russian passenger traffic. It turns out a vicious circle when airlines do not need to buy airplanes for such flights, but the Russian aviation industry does not need to produce them, there is no demand - there is no supply. The country cannot get out of this trap from 1991 of the year. And if Russian industry is ever able to cope with the technical side of the problem and still create a new small aircraft, then how to make the prices of airline tickets affordable for the general public at a time when real incomes of citizens are declining for five consecutive years is still a mystery .