S7 Technics to Test Overhauled CFM56 Engines in Russia

UEC Saturn engine test cell in Rybinsk
Credit: UEC Saturn

MRO provider S7 Technics has agreed to test overhauled CFM56 turbofan engines in Russia. It signed a letter of intent on Sept. 15 with local manufacturer United Engine Corporation (UEC), which will provide a test cell in Rybinsk, about 300 km (approximately 186 mi.) north of Moscow.

This agreement is a part of S7 Technics’ larger effort to expand its maintenance capabilities for Western-made powerplants. The company is building a new facility at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO) that will be the first in Russia to overhaul CFM International CFM56-5B/7B engines, which are installed on the popular Airbus A320ceo and Boeing 737NG narrowbodies.

The three floor, 14,600 m2 (47,900 ft.2) facility will have three production lines for CFM56 overhaul and six production lines for the overhaul of Honeywell 131-9A/9B auxiliary power units (APU). The APU overhaul is expected to be certified by EASA and FAA in the first quarter of 2022, said Alexey Starkov, director of power plant repair at S7 Technics at the MRO Russia conference in Moscow on Sept. 15. The approval of CFM56 overhaul capabilities and powerplant components repairs will follow in the second quarter of 2022.

The agreement with UEC will minimize the repair time, as otherwise S7 Technics would have to ship engines for testing to Germany or Switzerland. UEC built modern test facilities at its Rybinsk-based subsidiary UEC-Saturn in cooperation with Safran in the mid-2000s when it launched a joint production of the SaM146 turbofan for the Russian-made Superjet 100 regional jet. This test cell is now being modified for CFM56 testing.

The new S7 Technics facility will be able to overhaul 42 CFM56 engines annually as well as up to 100 APUs. The company is targeting the Russian market, where about 800 CFM56-5B/7Bs are operated currently.

The opening of the engine overhaul shop seems to come at the right time as the Russian MRO market begins to recover after the pandemic slump. According to Denis Kanevsky, Lufthansa Technik’s (LHT) general manager for Russia and CIS, airlines tried to postpone engine overhauls during the lockdown to save cash, but this can’t last forever. Kanevsky says LHT now repairs three to four engines a month in its Hamburg facility compared to 300 engines a year before the pandemic, “But we expect the fast growth for engine overhaul in early 2023,” he added.

Meanwhile, LHT announced it had signed a new maintenance contract with Rossiya Airlines, a subsidiary of Russia’s Aeroflot Group. Until mid-2022, the German MRO will overhaul four CFM56-5B engines for Rossiya at its engine shop in Hamburg.

“We will have oversaturation in demand for repair of components, engines and airframes in 2023-24. Both the operators and the providers must be ready for this”, agreed Mikhail Korobovich, head of A-Technics, another large Russian MRO provider.

Maxim Pyadushkin

Maxim holds a key position at AW&ST’s Russian partner – Air Transport Observer magazine (www.ato.ru). In the past he was in charge of several ATO’s sister aerospace publications and earlier worked for Moscow-based CAST defense think-tank.