Bad weather forced helicopters to abandon their search for a Sukhoi Superjet 100 reportedly carrying 50 people that disappeared from radar screens during a demonstration flight from Jakarta, Indonesia, on May. The Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency has dispatched ground teams in coordination with local police and military units into the mountainous terrain where officials suspect the aircraft crashed.
Judging by the dominance of business jets at India Aviation 2012, held at Hyderabad in southern India from March 14 to 18, predictions of double-digit general aviation growth in the country have inspired manufacturers and service providers to boost their presence in the market.
India’s ailing airliner sector was conspicuous by its absence from the third biennial show, barring a static display of the Boeing 787 in Air India’s colors and a mock-up of the Russian Irkut MC-21 airliner. Instead, a spurt of announcements relating to India’s business aviation sector lifted spirits.
Russian Air Force commander Gen. Alexander Zelin has elaborated further about aircraft acquisition plans under the country’s Weapons Program 2011-2020. His comments addressed the Sukhoi series of combat aircraft, as well as airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, airlifters and the Yak-130 jet trainer. Zelin said that the air force will acquire about 60 Sukhoi PAKFA (T-50) fifth-generation fighters by 2020.
A follow-on order for 92 aircraft has boosted production of the Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighter. Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Sukhoi general director Igor Azar signed the contract on March 1. The Russian MoD signed for 32 Su-34s in 2008, of which 10 have been delivered so far. The air force expects 12 more this year. Production at the NAPO plant in Novosibirsk will now continue through 2020.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) granted type approval in late January to Franco-Russian engine maker PowerJet for a more powerful version of the SaM146 turbofan. Designated the SaM146 1S18, the engine offers 16,100 pounds of takeoff thrust, compared with the 1S17’s 15,400 pounds, thereby increasing the Sukhoi Superjet 100-95 LR’s mtow and extending its range to 2,470 nm with a full passenger load.
A “Program for Development of the Aircraft Industry by 2025,” drafted by Russia’s Ministry for Industry and Trade, calls for investment of 1.7 trillion roubles ($56 billion) in various national aviation projects.
SuperJet International announced on February 28 that its board of directors has appointed Nazario Cauceglia new CEO of the company, a joint venture between Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aermacchi (51 percent) and Sukhoi Holding (49 percent).
Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) plans to develop a stretched version of the recently certified Superjet 100 designed to seat 130 passengers. The airplane is dubbed the Superjet 130NG, and Sukhoi estimates its development costs will total $1 billion.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a type certificate for the Sukhoi Superjet 100-95 on February 3, paving the way for the Russian jet’s operation by airlines in Western Europe and in countries that use EASA regulations as their reference standard.
Sukhoi has delivered 12 Su-27SM(3)s to the Russian air force. The aircraft were originally intended to be supplied as subassemblies to China under a contract signed in 2009, and the last delivery was made in late December. The airframes were assembled at Sukhoi’s KnAAPO plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur from parts originally manufactured for what was meant to be a second batch of 95 airframes in the Chinese order for 200 Su-27SKs. However, China took only the first 105 Su-27SKs, most of which were assembled in China from Russian kits.