Russia’s major plane maker, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), comes to the Paris Air Show with a new president and new goals. Yury Slyusar, who was appointed as UAC’s head at the beginning of the year, explained to ShowNews’ Maxim Pyadushkin how the corporation will expand its share of a global civil aircraft market that is highly competitive and currently not very friendly to the Russian manufacturer.

 

The Russian government set a goal for the UAC to increase its share of civil production. How can it be achieved? Do you plan to revise or expand the current product range of civil aircraft?

Our strategic priorities remain the same – active development of the civil segment of our business while maintaining momentum in the defense and transport sectors. As for the civil programs, we plan to rely on the global market demand with the priority for Russia and the CIS countries (and) to take significant shares there in those segments where we have competitive offers. These are, first of all, the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and MC-21 aircraft. The civil component of our business can be further strengthened by the (Russo-Chinese) widebody aircraft program that is now at the investment appraisal stage.

Besides the home market our next priorities are now Asia-Pacific region, including India, China, and the Middle East, as well as Latin America.

I’d like to stress that UAC has a goal to increase not just the share of civil products, but total production volume. We hope for certain growth in defense production too. One of the important elements of our strategy is the significant increase in the production of transport aircraft. We have launched the assembly of the upgraded Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A heavy lifters and we are now developing the Il-112V light transport. We are also working with our colleagues from India on the MTA medium transport aircraft.

 

The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is UAC’s major civil program at the moment, but it hasn’t reached break-even yet. Do you plan to reconsider the program’s management model with your partner Alenia Aermacchi in order to increase its efficiency?

We are discussing ways to increase the efficiency of our cooperation with our Italian colleagues. All parties remain committed to this program. The decision is still not finalized, so we think it’s too early to announce it… Our Italian colleagues have made a significant contribution to the SSJ 100 program (which has) incorporated the world’s leading technologies. Such complex and globally competitive products can be developed only within the international partnership today.

 

Have any of the UAC programs been affected by the anti-Russian sanctions? Do you plan to review the suppliers’ lists for the SSJ 100 and MC-21 in favor of domestic manufacturers?

We can’t say that the sanctions have seriously disturbed our production and sales (in either) defense or civil products. For example, we have recently (May) signed an important agreement with the Xixian New Area Administrative Committee and the Chinese company New Century International Leasing to set up a leasing joint venture to facilitate SSJ 100 sales in China and South East Asia. This demonstrates certain changes in the directions of our activities, but not a decrease in its pace or efficiency.

Import substitution is a serious task. It has various priorities and volumes depending of our product segments. The strategic aircraft are 100% Russian-made. Some components in our combat and transport aircraft should be replaced with the Russian-made analogs. Such work is being done. As for the civil programs, there is no goal for total import substitution.

 

Your major defense effort is Sukhoi T-50 fifth-generation fighter. How have its trials proceeded so far? At what stage is the joint development of the Russo-Indian FGFA fighter that is based on T-50 design?

The flight trials involve four prototypes now. The T-50 was handed over for the joint evaluation trials (with the Russian Air Force) in 2014. Three more flying prototypes are expected to join the tests this year.

The aircraft has proved reliable flying qualities at subsonic and supersonic speeds, at low and high flight altitudes and at post-stall angles of attack. Current flight trials include testing of the systems’ combat modes, weapons compatibility and engagement.

Russian and the Indian designers (are working) on the FGFA program from the preliminary design phase. (This) first such experience has proved to be quite successful so far – the detailed design phase has been completed. This program is another clear demonstration of UAC’s intentions and capabilities to develop high-tech products in cooperation with foreign partners.