US will deprive Russia of MS-21

The ambitious project of the corporation of Sergey Chemezov may end without reaching the end.
As Kommersant found out, the US sanctions blocked the supply of materials for the composite wing of the MS-21 aircraft from America and Japan. Now the United Aircraft Building Corporation (UAC) and Rostec are trying to find an opportunity to produce analogues in Russia, but this requires long-term development and certification, which may delay the launch of the aircraft into the series from 2020 for several years. Another option is to replace the composites with a metal, but in the KLA they don’t want to consider this and claim that they will resolve the issue. Experts agree that the rejection of the “black wing” deprives the project of meaning, the cost of which was estimated by the Accounts Chamber at 438 billion rubles.

The US sanctions against Aerocomposite JSC (part of UAC) and ONPP Tekhnologiya Technology Company named after Romashin (Rostec) threatened the creation of a composite “black wing” for the current key prospective project in the Russian civil aviation industry - MS aircraft 21. Two top managers of the industry told about the difficulties with the supply of imported composites to Kommersant and was confirmed by a high-ranking official in the government apparatus. According to them, a number of components for composites used for the wing and part of the keel came from the United States and Japan, but recently, under pressure from Washington, the shipment ceased. We are talking about the components of the production of American Hexcel and Japanese Toray Industries.

MS-21 should become the first medium-haul aircraft created in post-Soviet Russia, and the elongated composite wing - one of its competitive advantages. It increases the efficiency of the car and increases the width of the cabin compared to counterparts from Boeing and Airbus. Three prototypes MS-21-300 with the “American” thread are now ready, the fourth aircraft in the assembly stage. The whole project, as “Kommersant” wrote on October 5, 2018, was estimated by the Accounts Chamber at 438 billion rubles.

“The remaining stock of composites is designed for six airplanes, and ways to solve the problem are being discussed,” one of the Kommersant’s interlocutors specified. There are few options, another is recognized, given the “very strong” US-Japanese relations, there is no need to rely on the resumption of supplies: “Now you have to take either Chinese composites that are twice as thick and heavier, or wait for Russian enterprises to create something similar. " Theoretically, the Elabuga plant of composite products can master the specialization, but it will be necessary to carry out R & D and find a machine-production park, he stresses, “and this will lead to a shift in deadlines to the right at least until 2025”.

The second option is to connect the Rosatom structures to the import substitution, “they have already promised to consider options for providing assistance.” According to Kommersant, the problem was discussed at a meeting with the participation of government officials, structures of the UAC and Rostec, as well as Rosatom. Following the “composite division” of “Rosatom” (Umatex) agreed to participate in the project for the development and testing of materials for MS-21, the customer will be “Aerocomposite”. But, as one of the interlocutors of “Kommersant” noted, now in the Russian Federation there are no enterprises producing such aircraft components, and it is extremely difficult to predict the dates for OCR.

The third option is the most radical: according to “Ъ”, TsAGI and SIC im. Zhukovsky offered to get rid of composites in MS-21 and redesign the wing and keel in the metal. This will shorten the delay of the program, but "will kill the composites, which were submitted as one of the main advantages of the liner," says the source. Also, according to Kommersant’s sources, replacement of the material is fraught with difficulties with certification of MS-21: a repeated test cycle is necessary, which will also have an impact on the timing.

In "Rosatom" did not comment on the situation.

Rostec calls the problem “far-fetched”: “There are reliable foreign suppliers of composites, there is our own development. Aircraft industry, in any case, will not remain without the necessary materials, the refusal to use composites in MS-21 is not even considered. ” Answering a question about whether it is true that a Japanese company, under pressure from the United States, stopped supplying composites to the Russian Federation, which were used in the MS-21 wing, was told by Kommersant in the office of Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov: “The government is familiar with everything in detail what happens to MS-21. There are no problems that threaten the project at the moment. ”

In the KLA, sanctions against the Aerocomposite are associated with competition in the niche of high-margin medium-haul aircraft. “This civil company has nothing to do with the defense industry, after the inclusion of Aerocomposite in the sanctions lists, we began an appeal procedure,” the corporation emphasizes. In the Russian Federation there are capacities, competencies and suppliers necessary for the creation of polymers, with financial and organizational support from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the production chain is mastered, they are certified by the UAC.

"Replacing the material does not entail constructive changes and can be framed by an addendum to the type certificate without changing the certification period," the corporation says, promising to meet the delivery dates for MS-21 supplies to Aeroflot, which are scheduled for 2020. In the Ministry of Industry and Trade, they "joined" the KLA commentary, Aeroflot and Rosaviatsyi refused to discuss the situation.

Aviaport Executive Director Oleg Panteleev believes that creating an MS-21 without a composite wing does not make sense, since “there is a ready-made Tu-204 with a metal wing without sanction risks,” a slight redesign under the PD-14 engine will increase its efficiency. But this will not lead to the creation of the liner, "competitive in comparison with the latest Boeing and Airbus." The expert believes that it is important for the aviation industry to gain competence in the production of the “black wing”: then not only the Russian market, but also other markets, including the Iranian one, will open to the aircraft. These technologies are also important for cooperation with China on the long-haul CR-929, Oleg Panteleev adds, since "without a wing, Russia's participation in a joint project will look rather pale."