A number of foreign suppliers of Russian civil aircraft projects have reneged on existing contracts refusing to provide electronic and other components, according to Vasily Shpak, Director of the Department of Radio-Electronic Industry of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia.
Speaking to reporters at the Microelectronics 2020 forum on September 30, Shpak said that a number of foreign companies had refused to continue supplying ready-made systems for the construction of Russian civil aircraft. However, he did not specify which systems will no longer be supplied and for which aircraft.
“Our foreign partners, who supply ready-made systems for our aircraft, someone publicly, someone secretly informed our aircraft manufacturers that they would not continue their relationship with our aircraft manufacturers either under existing contracts or under new contracts.”
He alleged that the West is trying to stop the Russian civil aircraft industry. The deliveries are stopped even without the announcement of sanctions. Shpak does not exclude that further restrictions will affect the supply of microelectronics.
While the US and European Union have imposed sanctions on Russian military programs, civil aviation programs are out of the purview of sanctions. Nevertheless some companies have refused cooperation with Russia, even for civil programs fearing reprisals.
Of all the Russian civil programs, the MC-21 is hit the most as it has been conceived to have a high percentage of western components – mainly to increase its international appeal.
Specifically, Thales, Orbit International and Honeywell have been listed as avionics suppliers for the MC-21 program. Replacing parts made by these companies may become a huge challenge for the MC-21 program.
Earlier Composite wing supplier Hexcel backed out followed by engine supplier Pratt & Whitney forcing MC-21 manufacturer UAC to scour for local alternatives.
The MC-21 is already delayed by a few years. The new development, which means Russia will have to source the parts either from its own limited sources of microelectronic suppliers or rely on China, could push back the program further.