aDminT3g, Автор в Норд Коннект
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Новости индустрии

«Вот уже давно хочется гордиться собственным самолётом» — Михаил, российский предприниматель, генеральный директор компании, работающей в логистике


Russia is considering ramping up two of its Soviet-era aircraft programs, the Ilyushin Il-96 and the Tupolev Tu-214.

According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, the reserve capabilities of the production may be activated.

“Together with our colleagues from the transport bloc we are finishing the analysis of the needs and the priority measures. Based on the picture we get, we may activate the reserve of additional production of these aircraft,” Borisov is quoted as saying by Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Production of the two aircraft has been on the back burner for the last decade, with just several aircraft produced every year.

The Ilyushin Il-96 is a four-engine wide-body aircraft developed in the 1980s based on the Il-86. Approximately 30 Il-96s have been produced since 1988, most of which have been used by Russian military and the country’s governmental fleet.

In 2015, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced the development of the Il-96-400M, a vastly upgraded variant intended as a stop-gap measure before the Chinese-Russian CRAIC CR292 becomes available, and also as a possible competitor to Western long-range airliners such as the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A350.

However, in mid-2021, UAC cancelled the Il-96-400M, announcing that no commercial orders were received, and the two prototypes are to be turned into airborne command posts (‘doomsday planes’) by the Russian aerospace forces.

The Tupolev Tu-214 is a variant of the Tu-204 narrow-body airliner from the late 1980s. Roughly comparable to the Boeing 757, the Tu-204 was expected to become the Soviet Union’s primary mid-range airliner. However, only 98 aircraft were produced.

The Tu-214 was developed in the mid-1990s and features an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) and fuel capacity in comparison with a regular Tu-204. While several older Tu-204s remain in use with Russian, North Korean and Cuban airlines, only the Russian military and the governmental fleet uses Tu-214s.

AeroComposit, a subsidiary of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), has commenced work on the airframe for the CR929, the Chinese-Russian airliner. Reportedly, the company has just begun producing the wing for the wide-body jet.

The news was revealed on November 19, 2021, at Composites without borders, an online forum for Russian composite materials manufacturers, reports.

In a post on the forum, deputy general director of Irkut, Anatoly Gaydansky, wrote: “The production lines of the AeroComposit factory in Ulyanovsk are busy almost to 100%. The factory is working on two main projects. One of them is manufacturing the wings and the central box of the MC-21. […] The second one – manufacturing wings for the Russian-Chinese CR929.”

He continued: “We are working on the prototypes [of the CR929] and developing the manufacturing processes.”

In September 2021, production of the prototype officially began at COMAC’s factory in Linang, although it was not announced what part of the airliner would be manufactured at the site.

The CR929 was conceived as a Chinese-Russian co-production from the onset. Russia’s biggest contribution will be composite parts that make up most of the airframe, including the wings and the fuselage.

AeroComposit owns the main composite material production facilities in Russia. The company manufactures composite wings of the MC-21 airliner, as well as some parts for the SSJ New, an updated version of the SSJ100 regional jet.

The CR929 will be a long-range wide-body airliner designed to compete with Boeing and Airbus wide-body jets, primarily the787 Dreamliner and the A330neo.

The aircraft will be produced by CRAIC, a joint venture of China’s COMAC and Russia’s UAC.

The project was launched in 2014, but was slowed down by numerous difficulties. For most of 2020, COMAC and UAC were locked in a bitter confrontation over the sales rights of the aircraft, which caused delays and pushed back the jet’s first delivery dates to 2028-2029.

Ukraine is set to establish a new national airline called Ukrainian National Airlines (UNA), the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky announced during the Big Construction: Aviation and Tourism forum on November 25, 2021.

«In addition to the promises, we are moving to practical implementation — this is our national air carrier, its creation will be officially launched today. We are ready to invest in the air fleet, involve world leaders in joint projects,” Zelensky said.

During the forum, Airbus and the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The new document defines the algorithm for further cooperation of the parties in the framework of creating Ukraine’s new national airline, including the purchase of 22 aircraft.

«We see that in Ukraine, a country that has extremely great potential for tourism, business and any new opportunities, there is great potential for creating a new carrier,” Airbus Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Kimon Sotiropoulos commented in a statement.

Sotiropoulos remarked that Ukraine’s new flag-carrier will be established from scratch, which makes it possible to “immediately invest in new technologies, in a better fleet that will leave less carbon footprint, consume less fuel and therefore would be more environmentally friendly”.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Minister of Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure, added: «This is the first step when we can start cooperating as two equal partners.”

Australia’s plan to build an airport in Antarctica is criticized by the scientists that should be the main beneficiaries of the project.

In 2018, Australia’s government announced plans to construct a paved runway near Davis research station in Antarctica. In 2019, an additional funding for the development of the Davis Aerodrome Project was secured. The runway would support year-round air connectivity between Hobart, the capital of Australia’s island state of Tasmania, and Antarctica.

Current air access

Australia claims around 40% of Antarctica and a 200-mile nautical zone around it. Currently the Australia-Antarctica connection consists of a summer-only link from Hobart to the Wilkins Aerodrome ice runway. During the summer, the airport closes for 6 weeks as the warmer temperatures cause the ice surface to weaken. Winter connections to Antarctica are problematic as temperatures drop to −40°C at Davis research station. To facilitate the air connectivity and access to Antarctica, Australia drafted plans for the new airport.

The new aerodrome

The proposed aerodrome would take up a 2,700-meter paved runway capable of handling Boeing 787 Dreamliners or an Airbus A330. The infrastructure would include a taxiway, aircraft apron, runway lighting, and associated buildings to accommodate services, such as air traffic and rescue and fire fighting services. Moreover, it would contain an access road from the station to the aerodrome, a new wharf and a temporary station for the workers during the construction period.

“The construction of a paved runway at Davis research station would represent a significant capability boost that would revolutionize our scientific activities and enhance Australia’s leadership and long-term interests in the region,” according to the Australian Antarctic Division’s website.

Air connectivity would significantly increase as flights between Hobart and the new runway would take about six hours to cover the 4,838-kilometer distance.

Reportedly, a big part of the new runway will be prefabricated in Australia and shipped to the site by ship, including 11,500 cement elements weighing 10 tons each. The total of 115,000 tons of concrete would be brought to the Antarctic wilderness to build the 2.7km long and 40 metres wide airstrip. The 10-year construction would mount to $2.8 billion.

Another argument for the new aerodrome is Australia’s strategic concerns to counter China’s growing presence in Antarctica. So far, China has four Antarctic stations with a fifth station to be completed in 2022.

The Pushback

Environmental scientists have expressed their concerns about the multi-billion-dollar airport project, claiming it would be a waste of money and could have destructive consequences in the frozen continent.

“It’s unprecedented in the Antarctic in terms of the scale of investment and the impact on the environment. Although it is being done in the name of science, very few scientists are enthusiastic. This is more about flag-waving. It is about firming up Australia’s presence and our claim,” wrote Shaun Brooks, an environmental scientist at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies of the University at Tasmania, in the Conversation.

Brooks criticized the idea of building a massive airport for the base that hosts only 19 people during the winter and has been functioning well since 1957.

The construction, which is expected to take more than a decade, raises concerns over pollution, noise and carbon emission. It would take about 100 icebreaker voyages to ship all the materials. Furthermore, the wildlife habitat of breeding colonies of southern giant petrels, seals and Adélie penguins would be disrupted during the construction, as pointed out by the Guardian.

“It doesn’t align with Australia’s claim to be an environmental leader. Antarctica is special. Everywhere else in the world, you measure wilderness by what’s left. In Antarctica, it’s still the other way round,” added Brooks.

“The proposed Davis aerodrome is in a detailed planning phase and has commenced environmental assessment under national and international Antarctic Treaty processes which includes public consultation,” according to the press release of Australia’s Environmental Minister Sussan Ley.

The project is yet to be confirmed with budget discussions expected to take place in 2022. If approvals are granted, construction would begin in 2023 and run until 2040 at the earliest.