Russia has no more An-2s

The fleet of An-2s has exhausted its lifespan. 
In the coming years, the Russian aviation market is promised an acute shortage of small aircraft. Until now, the segment is based on the Soviet An-2, but within five to six years most of the "corn" will be decommissioned due to complete wear and tear. In 2011, the state tried to solve the problem by remodeling the An-2, but no suitable engines were made in Russia, and localization of American Honeywell engines did not become mass due to weak demand. Experts note that while for small airlines remotorized aircraft are still too expensive because of the high interest rate on loans.

The current fleet of small aircraft in the Russian Federation is "morally obsolete, in need of expensive maintenance and its fastest replacement," said yesterday at a conference on the creation of engines for small and regional aviation in the CIAM Ts. PI Baranova "head of the department for forecasting advanced research and development of aerospace engineering FSUE" SibNIA named after. SA Chaplygin "Dmitry Smirnov. According to him, now, 90% of the tasks of small aircraft in Russia are still performed by An-2 aircraft, which are more than 15 years old.

An-2 ("cornice") is a Soviet light multi-purpose aircraft. Because of its simplicity in operation, it was widely used on local air lines, including for transportation to remote villages, and for household work. In total, more than 18 thousand An-2 were built. Many aircraft operate for more than 40 years, some of them reach 20,000 hours.

But the life of the An-2 and other Soviet aircraft is near the end. According to the calculations of the State Research Institute of Civil Aviation, by the year of 2023 89% of the fleet of regional commercial aircraft will be withdrawn from service, in general aviation - 79% of aircraft. At the same time, in 60% of the territory of the Russian Federation, small aircraft - "the only means of ensuring transport accessibility, in 15 regions - the dominant component of the transport system." In 28 thousand settlements there is no access to land transportation networks. GosNII GA predicts that by 2025 it will take 360-490 aircraft for 9-19 seats, and until 2030 - more than 600 (more than 70% of the need - An-2 analogs for 7-9 passengers). Another 400 aircraft will be required by the state aviation, Dmitry Smirnov noted. He noted that the profitability of such transportations is "extremely small", since the load is about 46% with an average load of 70-75% in the industry. On the domestic lines of the Russian Federation in 2016, out of 56 million people, more than half were transported by flights with an average range of up to 1,500 km (low-flying flights also come here).

To extend the life of the An-2 was to be remotorized, says Mr. Smirnov. The works commissioned by the Ministry of Industry and Trade started in 2011, but there are no competitive engines for small aircraft in the Russian Federation, while it is advisable to use "imported with the possibility of localizing production," he explained. During the remotorization of 25 An-2, SibNIA deployed American Honeywell engines (21 aircraft from the operators - the Amur airbase, the Naryan-Mar detachment, AK ALROSA and others, their total flight time - 6 thousand hours). According to Mr. Smirnov, the price of the re-engineered An-2 depends on whether to install a new engine or after overhaul (with the new engine the aircraft costs $ 1.3 million). In the United Engine Building Corporation (part of Rostech) they did not respond to a request from Kommersant, it was not possible to contact AN-2 operators yesterday.

But it was not possible to localize production of Honeywell engines yet, in 2012 SibNIA signed with the Americans a memorandum, according to which localization is possible with the demand of more than 40 cars per year. SibNIA wanted to start the serial production of the all-composite An-2 in the Novosibirsk region within the framework of PPP, reported in July, the scientific supervisor of FSUE Alexei Seriousov. In the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Kommersant was told that such a nine-seat aircraft was developed within the framework of the state program for the development of the aircraft industry until 2025, at the MAKS-2017 air show there were talks about the possibility of its mass production, including at the Ulan-Ude aircraft plant (included in the Helicopters of Russia "). The Ministry of Industry and Trade will determine the feasibility and feasibility of state support measures for the project based on the results of the final site selection and cost estimation.

The executive director of the agency "Airport" Oleg Panteleev notes that, although the remodorized An-2 is cheaper than foreign analogues, Russian companies compare it with "inherited and completely depreciated AN-2." At the current cost of loans, the acquisition of a new version is "an unbearable burden for operators," he says. The output would be an increase in seriality and development of engine assembly in Russia, but this will happen only with a large state order, the expert said.