In an interview with Defenseworld.net, Oleg Demchenko, President, IRKUT Corp speaks about the Yak-130 combat trainer, Su-30 MKI fighter and the MC-21 aicraft.
DW : IRKUT Corp. is very bullish about the YAK-130 combat trainer. What are the main features of this aircraft?
Demchenko: The Yak-130 has become the first combat trainer in the world capable of training of pilots of four-plus-plus and fifth generation fighters. IRKUT Corp. of Russia which manufactures the Yak-130 plans to further develop the plane to integrate an opto-electronic system to provide target detection for guided weaponry at night. A next phase of the Yak’s development is related to installation of an advanced radar. Besides, it is being planned to equip the Yak-130 for carrying the Kh-29 and Kh-31 missiles, and the new generation Kh-38 missiles. These are air-to-ground missiles usually carried on much heavier combat aircraft.
DW : Do you think the Yak-130 can replicate the success of Su-30MKI?
Demchenko: We anticipate that the Yak-130 Program is well-suited to repeat the success of Su-30MKI on foreign markets. The first deliveries of Yak’s under export contract were made to Algeria in 2011. At the end of 2012, four Yak-130s were ordered by Belarus. A new area of the Yak-130’s marketing promotion has become Brazil. Rosoboronexport State Corp. and IRKUT have provided Brazil proposals to supply an initial batch of Russian trainers with further manufacturing on the Brazilian territory and supplies to countries of LA.
DW : Has IRKUT started deliveries of Yak-130 trainers to the Russian Air Force?
Demchenko: In December 2012, IRKUT Corp. shipped 15 Yak-130s to the Russian Air Force as per a contract between the Russian MoD and IRKUT to supply of 55 aircraft, which was signed at the end of 2011. Russian Air Force Academy pilots have already started training on the Yak-130s.
DW : IRKUT Corp is well-known in India mainly due to the successful Su-30MKI Program. What is the present stage of this program?
Demchenko: India long since been and will be our major foreign partner. I am rather confident in this regard. As far as the Su-30MKI Program is concerned, during the December 2012 official visit to India of Mr. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, we signed a contract on supply 42 Su-30MKI knockdown kits for assembly in India. IRKUT Corp. has already started its implementation. We are discussing with our Indian partners regarding further up-gradation of Su-30MKI which will make the fighter’s outstanding performances even better. We have also teamed up with HAL, our Indian partner to overhaul the IAF’s first batches of Su-30MKIs, it should be noted, that for IRKUT the Su-30 Program is not totally India’s specific. In 2012, we delivered to the Russian AF first two Su-30SM fighters out of 60, ordered by the Russian Air Force.
DW : IRKUT is promoting the MC-21 airliner rather actively. Could you give us more details on the project?
Demchenko: I would not say that we are on an active stage of its promotion. We do place our main emphasis on the MC-21 Project’s development and at the same time we do prepare ourselves for its series production. The MC-21 family of aircraft is short-range and middle-range airliners which are designed to surpass all existing narrow-body aircraft in terms of operational efficiency. In comparison with existing airliners the MC-21 families of planes provide more than 20% reduction in fuel consumption. Our particular concern has been passenger comfort and the MC-21 provides wide-body comfort in a narrow-body aircraft.
DW : Any interest for the aircraft in India?
Demchenko: It should be noted that at India Aviation’2012 in Hyderabad, IRKUT Corp. presented the MC-21 full-scale mock-up and we had got a great deal of interests from Indian carriers.
DW : At what stage is the MC -21 project at the moment and when do you plan to enter the market?
Demchenko: Right now we are finalizing the development of design documentation of our leader model, which is the 180-seater MC-21-300 airliner and have just started assembling of the aircraft’s first components in Irkutsk Aviation Plant. By now we have managed to firm up the order book which stands over 250 of which 185 are the firm ones and the rest are options. The MC-21’s first operators will be companies of Aeroflot Group, the Russian national carrier. The MC-21’s maiden flight is scheduled for 2015, while it will be entering into service in 2017
DW : The MC-21 has international partners as well. Who are major participants of the program?
Demchenko: Among our several partners, I’d like to mention Pratt&Whitney Corp., the aero engines manufacturer, who will be supplying its PW1400G air engine and Zodiac Company, the French manufacturer of systems and interiors. I’d like to outline that IRKUT is all ready to collaborate within the MC-21 Program with Indian manufacturers as well, keeping in mind our joint expertise in development such complex and successful military Program like Su-30MKI.