DW: IRKUTCorp is well-known in India due to the Su-30MKI fighter. But, until recently your Corp has not participated in Hyderabad’s Show. Why are you participating this year?
Alexei Fedorov, President, IRKUT Corp : Our participation in India Aviation 2012 is reasoned by expansion of the IRKUT’s sphere of activities. Keeping the same efforts in military aviation, we make the focus of entering a market of long-range air-liners. In Hyderabad we are show-casing the full-scale mock-up of MC-21 a/c. Its development is being executed by our Corp. The Show’s visitors will get an opportunity to see advantages of the IRKUT’s concept of a single-passed plane. We anticipate its deliveries to our customers in 2017.
DW: What is at the core of this concept? In what way will the MC-21 be different from current aircraft?
Alexei Fedorov, President, IRKUT Corp : Our goal is to provide airlines with a tool to operate their businesses efficiently, while passengers will get a new level of flying comfort. The MC will allow airlines to decrease their direct operational costs by 12-15%. And it is achieved not only by installation of new engines, like Pratt-Whitney PW1400G. And we are pioneers in the practical implementation of the most advanced aerodynamic concept of airliner. By the way, in Russian ‘MC – 21’ means ‘Long-range Airliner of 21st century’. For example, for the first time we have used composites in the wing’s load-bearing. It makes it lighter and improves its load-carrying characteristics significantly. New aerodynamics and new composites will provide nearly half of 23 % in decreasing of fuel-consumption in comparison with existing a/c.
DW: What is the present stage of MC-21 Program? Does it have customers already?
Alexei Fedorov, President, IRKUT Corp : We are on the right track of the program’s implementation. We have just started the design documentation’s development. For the last few months we have gotten encouraging results of tests of the composite wing’s prototype, which are matching our expectations. Its maiden flight is scheduled for 2014. At the same time, we undertake the full-scale modernization of Irkutsk Aviation Plant, where MC-21 will be manufactured. These are state-of-the-art technologies are being used in the Su-30MKI production for the IAF. By now we have contracted supplies of 235 a/c of MC-21-200 and MC-21-300 types. Of special importance for us is the firm order for 50 a/c, signed up with Aeroflot, the Russian national carrier.
DW: You just mentioned ‘better comfort’. What, in fact, could be done in this respect, keeping in mind narrow space of single-passed a/c?
Alexei Fedorov, President, IRKUT Corp : Actually, we have got some additional space by increased diameter of the fuselage. For a passenger it provides 30% of his additional space, wider seats, bigger luggage racks etc. As a result, MC-21 will be the first ever single-passed a/c, in which the passengers will get the same comfort level as on the board of long-range air-liner. I am keen to stress, that due to the skills of our scientists and designers we have managed to settle two contradicting tasks: to make better comforts and to improve aerodynamics.
DW: Who are the participants of MC-21 Program? Does IRKUT Corp have any investors?
Alexei Fedorov, President, IRKUT Corp : In Russia the best forces of the UAC are involved in the MC-21 Program. In particular, I mean new competence centers on composites. Among our suppliers are the leading Western manufacturers, like Pratt-Whitney, Hamilton Sundstrand, Rockwell Collins, Honeywell, Thales, Eaton, companies of the Zodiac Group. In many cases they do develop qualitatively new systems for us. As far as investment aspects are concerned, a number of the most important issues of MC-21 Program have received financial support from the Russian government. Some leading Russian banks do provide us with support as well.
DW: In view of the MC-21 Program’s evident progress, do you visualize the IRKUT’s shifting from military aviation manufacturing, where your Corp is reputed worldwide?
Alexei Fedorov, President, IRKUT Corp : Our strategy is to keep the same positions in military aviation and to gain a stable status in the civil aviation market. By 2020, we plan to double our earnings with the MC-21. In the middle-term perspective, the Su-30MKI family fighters will form the base of our manufacturing program. In the niche of heavy fighters this plane is beyond compare. Its potential will be increased due to the a/c’s modernization, improved radar and arms systems. Adequate works are undergoing in close cooperation with Sukhoi Corp. Besides, we work together on the Su-30MK’s adaptation to the Russian Air Force’s requirements. The maiden flight of its prototype will be made this year and this will result in signing up of a big-scale contract with the Russian MoD. Yak-130 combat trainer occupies a more important place in our manufacturing program.
DW: In comparison with the Su-3MKI this aircraft is not so well-known in India. Could you give us more details, please?
Alexei Fedorov, President, IRKUT Corp : We are really proud of this a/c, which over the last few years it has undergone the research phase and all the way up to series production. As a result of efforts of Yakovlev engineering Center, which is a structural part of IRKUT Corp., a completely new aircraft has come up with features of world leader in combat trainer of new generation. The Yak-130 Program develops towards increasing of the a/c’s combat efficiency as we see a big demand on light striking aircraft. They are well-fitted for low-intensity conflicts, counter-terrorist operations and a number of other missions.
DW: What are the Corporation’s plans in India?
Alexei Fedorov, President, IRKUT Corp : India is the strategic partner of Russia. IRKUT uses this definition as the principle of its collaboration with our Indian partners. We value the high contributions of the Indian specialists to the Su-30MKI’s present look. IRKUT has been cooperating fully with HAL in the Su-30MKI license manufacturing. High-tech products from Indian firms are used in the Su-30MK Project and are being exported to other countries as well. We visualize expansion of our cooperation in after-sale servicing, overhaul and up-gradation of the IAF’s SU-30MKI park. Understandably, we are keen to augment our collaboration with Indian high-tech companies within the MC-21 Program.
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