The air force commanders of both Russia and India have this month discussed the progress and future schedule of the fifth-generation Sukhoi fighter project. They are keen to have their own pilots evaluate the design so that they can take a decision on further funding for the project.
Top Russian officials have confirmed sales deals with China for the Sukhoi Su-35 and with Indonesia on an additional quantity of Su-30MK2 multirole fighters.
Citing design issues, on February 11 Russia’s Rosaviatsia aviation authority ordered Aeroflot to ground four of its 10 Superjet 100 airliners. Manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. said the issues related to a service bulletin about aircraft slats and landing gear. On February 15, Sukhoi announced that all four aircraft had been cleared to resume operations.
As the first Sukhoi Superjet SSJ100 destined for Western launch customer Interjet of Mexico rolled out of its paint hangar in Venice, Italy, on February 11, industry observers digested a seemingly unprompted statement from Sukhoi Civil Aircraft’s Moscow headquarters summarizing design problems uncovered during the airplane’s 23 months of service history.
The Indo-Russian joint venture Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd. (MTAL) exhibited for the first time at Aero India in Bangalore this week. Under the leadership of general director N.C. Agarwal, the company was established by a framework agreement signed in October 2012 between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) and United Aircraft Corporation’s Transport Aircraft division.
Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) expects to be able to sell between 50 and 70 of its new Superjet SJ-100 airliners to Indian carriers and another 250 to operators in China. During a press conference at this week’s Aero India show in Bangalore, UAC president Mikhail Pogosyan specifically mentioned Air India and Go Air as sales prospects for the narrowbody.
The integration of the new BrahMos missile on to Sukhoi’s Su-30MKI long-range fighter is due to reach a key milestone this year with integration of the weapon on test aircraft, ahead of planned first deliveries to the Indian Air Force (IAF) next year.
The Russian government has granted Sukhoi Civil Aircraft loan guarantees worth $1 billion under the credit line opened by Kremlin-controlled VEB bank to finance work related to the manufacture of Superjet SSJ-100s. The government decree, issued on December 29, calls for SCAC to repay the VEB loan within 12 years starting in January 2015. The government guarantees expire in July 2026.
Despite realignment, increased government investment and the appearance of political resolve, the Russian airliner industry has achieved little success in expanding its civil production over the past four years. Although it has nearly doubled its delivery total, from 11 jetliners in 2009, to 10 in 2010, 18 in 2011 and 19 in 2012, the industry’s hopes to launch a challenge to the Western world’s manufacturing powers remain unfulfilled and distant.