How can events in Ukraine affect cooperation between Russian and Ukrainian aircraft manufacturers? Will it be possible to avoid the mistakes that were made in the design and manufacture of the Sukhoi Superjet 21 while creating the MC-100? Will an American aircraft engine from Pratt & Whitney be installed on the MS-21 or an engine from JSC Perm Engine Company? These and other questions were answered by the President of the Union of Aviation Engine Building (ASSAD), Doctor of Technical Sciences Viktor Chuiko in an interview with the "VPK".
- Will the MC-21 aircraft be a breakthrough for the domestic aircraft industry?
“Before answering this question, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that despite significant state funding for the aircraft industry over the past 12 years, this industry is still in a systemic crisis. Now in Russia, no more than 30 civilian aircraft are produced per year, while in the USSR, at the same time, they produced up to 300 aircraft. Production of a small number of aircraft leads to the fact that domestic products become uncompetitive in price.
We created the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and are creating the MC-21, but the market is filled with western aircraft. About 900 foreign-made aircraft fly in the sky of Russia. Moreover, most of them are registered in offshore zones, that is, the country receives nothing from the operation of these vessels. In such conditions, the production of new equipment is the road to nowhere. For example, according to the new state program “Development aviation industry for 2013–2025 ”, we should cover 3,6 percent of the global aircraft manufacturing market until 2025 (although the UAC’s development strategy includes 15 percent.) The global market coverage of 3,6 percent can be closed with one type of aircraft and thus production give other types of air vehicles to foreign manufacturers. If it turns out that the MS-21 will not be in high demand in the market, then you will have to be content with producing a small series of these aircraft, but then they will be uncompetitive for economic reasons. Aircraft manufacturers need to produce about 300 engines a year, of the same type. In this case, they will be able to direct funds to modernize fixed assets and to further develop new types of aircraft engines. It should be borne in mind that our competitors abroad do not sleep, as we have done over the past 20 years, and they will at least have time to create new modifications of civilian aircraft. For example, over the past 20 years, Boeing has released seven series of the Boeing 737, while we have none. In the 2000s, in Russia, aircraft were practically not modernized and new series of Tu-204, Tu-214, and IL 96-300 aircraft were not produced.
To say that we will make the aircraft ahead of time, is possible only if domestic aircraft manufacturers use the most advanced achievements of science. But you can't count on it. Unfortunately, in the conditions when we buy foreign equipment, science was divorced from the process of creating aircraft.
- How do you assess the readiness of the PW1400G engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney and the PD-14 engine manufactured by JSC Perm Engine Company?
- Pratt & Whitney makes a modification of the PW1000G - PW1400G engine, which would be suitable for the MC-21. Information on this project is scanty. But all the same, it can be concluded from it that Pratt & Whitney is actively working on the creation of this engine. The creators of PD-14 also successfully passed several “gates” (in the language of aircraft manufacturers, “gates” are the stages of creating technology). Perm aircraft engine builders defended the idea of producing PD-14, its layout, managed to build and test a gas generator, assemble a full-scale prototype of the PD-14 engine. Today, the so-called business engine is under development. If there are no financial or organizational obstacles, then the engine will be created in 2015-2016. I think by then Pratt & Whitney will have built their PW1400G. Further, flight tests will begin and the creators of the MS-21 will have to choose the best one. This is the accepted world practice. In accordance with it, several types of engines can be installed on one aircraft. They are chosen by the customer. For example, a Boeing or Airbus A380 is produced with both European General Electric and American Pratt & Whitney engines. The choice will be made according to several parameters, such as fuel consumption, emission of harmful substances, noise, etc. I want to say that the PD-14 has a reserve in order to meet all these parameters and even exceed their value.
- What should be done so that when creating the PD-14 and the MS-21 aircraft as a whole, do not repeat the mistakes made in the design and production of the SaM 146 engine for the Sukhoi Superjet 100?
“The difficulties that arose during the 11 years when creating a fairly simple SSJ 100 aircraft are primarily explained by the fact that Sukhoi did not specialize in building passenger aircraft. As a result, we had to create an appropriate structure, learn, gain experience, which took a lot of money and time. MC-21 creates an almost new team, although former employees of the Yakovlev Design Bureau and the Ilyushin Design Bureau worked on the initial part of the project. Therefore, I have concerns related to the qualifications of the new team. Certain optimism is caused by the fact that the team of OJSC “Corporation Irkut” is headed by the talented president of this company Oleg Demchenko.
The second drawback associated with the creation of the Sukhoi Superjet 100, due to the complete orientation on imported equipment. She led to the fact that from 70 to 80 percent of all configuration comes from abroad. As a result, the aircraft did not become the driving force behind the development of the Russian aviation industry.
Imported equipment, in particular, led to the fact that the engine SaM146 for Sukhoi Superjet 100 has become unprofitable. Its production brings OAO Saturn from 20 to 40 million rubles a loss for each engine. I am afraid that in the near future Saturn will not be able to reach the break-even issue of SaM146, because for this it will be necessary to increase the price of the aircraft, which means to make it uncompetitive.
- It is known that several engine-building plants from the CIS countries claim to participate in the creation of MC-21 and, in particular, the engine for this aircraft. How do you feel about this idea?
- I am deeply convinced that the only way to develop our aircraft industry is through cooperation with the CIS countries - Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan and even Georgia. After all, at the Tbilisi Aviation Plant produced attack aircraft Su-25. Europe began its unification with the project to create an airbus, and if we want to economically unite the space of the former USSR, we need a common project, such as the MS-21 aircraft.
- The latest events in Ukraine speak about increasing risks in cooperation with aircraft manufacturers of this state. After all, Ukraine is likely to sign association agreements with the EU. Maybe Russian aircraft manufacturers do not need to make efforts to establish cooperation with enterprises of Ukraine?
- The entry (and even the association) of Ukraine into the EU will lead to the fact that the aviation industry will cease to exist there. We are talking about very large and competitive enterprises. Only in Zaporozhye 14 aircraft manufacturing enterprises, which are part of Motor Sich JSC, and the state enterprise “Zaporozhskoye machine-building design bureau Progress named after academician A.G. Ivchenko”.
In addition, Ukraine has such engine-building centers as the state enterprise Scientific Research and Production Complex of the Gas-Turbine Construction Zorya-Mashproekt, the FED Aggregate Plant, the Lugansk Aviation Repair Plant, the Kiev Aviation Repair Plant No. 410, the Odessa Element Plant.
Ukrainian engine builders are already involved in the creation of the MC-21. Progress and Motor Sich manufactured a combustion chamber for the PD-14 engine. Moreover, it is important that, in contrast to the creation of SaM146, the equipment of which is mainly foreign, everything that is developed in Zaporozhye - materials, units, instruments comes from Russia. According to our calculations, as a result of such close cooperation, aircraft engines produced by Zaporozhye specialists, by 60 percent, were created in Russia.
In the event of a break in relations, we will lose a lot - personnel, technology, engine building school. This should not be allowed, because, in my deep conviction, we are doomed to live together, and sooner or later the union of two fraternal peoples will occur.
- What measures can still be taken to ensure that the MC-21 was not an American, but a domestic engine?
- When we talk about cooperation between Perm Engine Company and Pratt & Whitney, this process should not be blackened. Our American colleagues have done a lot of good for the Perm aircraft manufacturers. When Pratt & Whitney was a shareholder, the company invited about a hundred designers who underwent training and learned advanced design technologies. In the most difficult time, when the Perm aircraft manufacturers had nothing to pay salaries with, the management of Pratt & Whitney decided to allocate two million dollars for these needs and this allowed them to stay afloat. Pratt & Whitney participated in the modernization of one of the machining buildings, and the Americans supplied equipment there. Pratt & Whitney took part in the modification of the PS-90 A2 engine. This engine is capable of working up to 60 thousand hours on the wing. We never had that. Now Pratt & Whitney has sold its stake because, with the constant restructuring of the Perm engine-building unit, the Americans could not understand what we were doing, and seeing the futility of cooperation, they left the project. Therefore, we need not look for enemies, but ourselves use the opportunities we have. Among them - the organization of service centers for after-sales service MS-21. After all, the presence of such centers is a determining factor when choosing a particular engine. We have excellent conditions for this, connected with the transfer of factories of the air force to industry. These factories are located throughout Russia and they can be used for service centers, including joint-stock ones. The shareholders should be 50/50 manufacturers and repair plants. Why is this important? It would be a big mistake to tear the manufacturer and developer away from service. The manufacturer should be interested in giving the service centers spare parts and modules. In this case, the spare part supplied to the service center by the manufacturer will cost three to four times less than when supplied as part of the engine. With this proposal, I went to the Ministry of Industry and Trade to the Minister Denis Manturov and at the same time addressed this proposal to the Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia Yuri Borisov.
- What else interferes with the quiet work on PD-14?
- Six months ago, the struggle began to unite the serial plant and experimental design bureau (OKB) in Perm. The merger of the bureau and plants is a logical direction. But today you can not do this. Now we are working hard on PD-14. It is wrong to divert specialists to reorganization, which initially only incurs losses. Moreover, the factory had a very difficult economic situation. Today, a new leader, Sergey Popov, has been appointed at Perm Engine Company. Thank God that Alexander Inozemtsev remained at the position of the head of Aviadvigatel OJSC. However, a quiet life can not be dreamed of. Only this struggle is over, as the organization of divisions began. According to this reorganization, the engine-building center will be in Saturn, a competitor of Perm Engine Company. Everything goes to the fact that all the ground-based topics, that is, all the engines manufactured by Perm Engine Company OJSC for the needs of the power industry, will be handed over for sale to Saturn. The reason is ridiculous - the need to eliminate competition within the United Engine Corporation (UEC). This is nonsense, because competition must be from the workplace to the very top. Permians made tremendous progress in creating equipment for gas transfer stations. Gazprom is actively cooperating with them. Practically all gas pumping stations in the Urals and Western Siberia are equipped with their equipment. This allows Alexander Inozemtsev to have additional funds, including for the creation and production of PD-14. Reorganization deprives him of these funds. There is a truth that Vladimir Alekseevich Lotarev, the General Designer of Zaporozhye engine builders, clearly adhered to, in honor of the centenary from the birth of which the ASSAD proclaimed Vladimir Lotarev the 2014 year. So he loved to say all kinds of innovators: "It works - do not touch!". You need to change where it works poorly. This is a holy principle for leadership.