Interview of the new CEO of UZGA


In the publication "Business Magazine.Ural" under the heading "Where the Ural planes will fly", an interview of the new General Director of JSC Ural Civil Aviation Plant (UZGA) Sergey Fedorov, appointed to this position on March 31, 2023, was published.

The first prototype of a light multipurpose aircraft LMS-901 "Baikal" developed by JSC Ural Civil Aviation Plant on tests on a dirt strip, September 2022 (c) Marina Lystseva / JSC Ural Civil Aviation PlantThe development of domestic aircraft manufacturers has become a strategically important direction for the country.

The state has taken up the development of not only large, but also small aircraft. There are many territories in the country where it is difficult to reach by land, regions need the ability to transport passengers and cargo. It is significant that this year even the main aviation and space salon of the country MAKS-2023, traditionally associated with large aviation, announced a special program for small aviation. The main task is to replace outdated models, such as the legendary AN-2, Yak-40, AN-24 and AN-26/AN-26-100. And such an alternative was proposed by the Sverdlovsk manufacturer - the Ural Civil Aviation Plant in the form of new aircraft LMS-901 "Baikal" and TVRS-44 "Ladoga". "Business Magazine.Ural" talked with the general director of the company Sergey Fedorov about the specifics of aircraft production, the interest of Russian and foreign buyers in new aircraft and the specifics of production.

- Sergey Vladimirovich, at the end of 2022, UZGA signed firm contracts for the supply of 49 Baikal aircraft with five companies. Such information was voiced earlier in the press. Confirm or correct this figure? In what time frame should the deliveries take place?- Indeed, by the end of 2022, Ural Civil Aviation Plant JSC (UZGA JSC) signed preliminary contracts for the supply of 49 LMS-901 Baikal aircraft with five airlines:

KrasAvia (10 aircraft, delivery dates - 2025-2029), Aeroservice (7 aircraft, delivery dates - 2025-2028), the Foundation for the Development of Sanitary Aviation and Heli-Drive North-West LLC (27 aircraft that will be operated in the "National System of Sanitary Aviation", delivery dates - 2025-2030) and "Naryan-Mar United Air Squadron" (5 aircraft, delivery dates 2026-2030).

In 2023, a preliminary contract was signed for the supply of three LMS-901 Baikal aircraft for Vityaz-Aero Airlines with a delivery period of 2026-2028. A firm contract has been signed with GTLK on the supply of 10 aircraft for the Aurora Airline, they will be operated in the Khabarovsk Territory. We are currently working on a contract for the supply of 95 Baikal aircraft in the interests of the United Far Eastern Airline.

The Baikal aircraft is of great interest to companies performing aviation work. Thus, an agreement of intent was signed with the Aerohimflot alliance for 120 machines of this type. During the visit to the production of JSC "UZGA", representatives of the FBU "Avialesookhrana" also expressed interest in acquiring Baikal. It is assumed that deals can be concluded as specialized versions are created for aviation chemical and other aviation work.

- Another quote from the media: the goal for 2023 is to bring the total volume of orders for Baikal to 170 units. Such plans remain in force, who do you consider as potential buyers?- The task of constantly increasing the order portfolio is natural for any manufacturer.

We are currently discussing the signing of contracts for more than 100 Baikal aircraft. In addition to the mentioned Aurora company, we are in dialogue with a number of airlines, as well as with commercial organizations that see the aircraft for their corporate transportation. But, of course, our activity is not limited to this. We see, as it was noted earlier, a great potential for the use of LMS-901 to perform aviation work.

The expected signing of a contract with the United Far Eastern Airline will allow us to form a rich production program until 2030 and, moreover, will allow us to create a second assembly site for the production of LMS-901 aircraft in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

- You have always stressed that the most important task is to make Baikal a multifunctional aircraft, so the main attention in the design of the aircraft was paid to its versatility. What configurations are already available today and are being discussed with potential customers?- At the start, customers are offered passenger and cargo versions, and it is also possible to use the combined volume of the cabin for the transportation of passengers and cargo.

We have worked out the placement of medical equipment in the salon, which will allow us to use Baikal to perform sanitary tasks. A slightly more distant prospect is an option for dropping parachutists. It will be distinguished by a special door, convenient for parachuting. Instead of individual passenger seats, in this case, folding chairs located along the sides of the aircraft will be used.

We are considering the possibility of creating an option for performing aviation chemical works, which will receive special equipment for fertilizing and processing chemicals. The specialized institute dealing with the problems of the use of aviation in the national economy is optimistic about the possibility of such a modification.

- The cost of "Baikal" in the basic version will be 120 million rubles. This is data from the summer of 2022. Does such an assessment correspond to today?- The cost in the basic version of 120 million rubles in 2020 prices is a constant set by the Technical Specification for the aircraft.

As for the rise in the cost of the aircraft, it is influenced by factors such as price escalation due to inflation, as well as equipping the ordered aircraft with additional equipment. At the customer's choice, we can equip Baikal with a large number of different systems that significantly increase the capabilities of the machine in terms of performing flights in difficult weather conditions, at night, increasing the level of flight safety, expanding the climatic conditions in which the aircraft can be operated. Naturally, this will affect the value of the transaction.

- Within the framework of the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum, UZGA signed an agreement of intent with JSC KrasAvia. It involves the acquisition by the Krasnoyarsk air carrier of 20 turboprop regional aircraft TVRS-44 "Ladoga". It is assumed that the aircraft will be delivered in a convertible cargo and passenger layout. What kind of configuration is this, what tasks are assigned to it, who else may have a potential demand for such an aircraft layout?- KrasAvia Airline performs transportation connecting the regional center with remote settlements in the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

Many destinations in the carrier's route network do not have year-round communication with the "mainland" on paved roads. There, as they say, "you can only fly by plane." This determines the need for not only passenger, but also cargo transportation, which allows you to quickly deliver perishable products, valuable cargo, mail.

The convertible version allows you to quickly, by the efforts of the airline itself, change the layout to an option that meets current tasks. The fully passenger layout is designed to carry 44 passengers, but at the same time 11 cubic meters of luggage weighing more than 1 ton can be loaded into the aircraft. The fully cargo version is already more than 42 cubic meters for cargo placement, its weight can reach six tons. And there are intermediate options in which either 36 or 20 seats remain in the cabin, the rest of the space is given for cargo transportation.

There is no doubt that for any carrier operating in the Arctic zone, in Siberia, in the Far East, such operational flexibility is very useful. People living in hard-to-reach and remote settlements are used to flying with luggage, using the services of online stores, and want to buy fresh dairy products, vegetables and fruits. Consequently, without advanced cargo transportation capabilities, the aircraft would be unattractive.

- It is assumed that KrasAvia will conduct pilot operation of the equipment. Commenting on this part of the agreement, you said that "controlled operation will speed up the completion of flight certification tests." How is the interaction built?- There are not so few opportunities for cooperation with the operator during the testing period.

After the aircraft receives the type certificate, it can already be put into operation. However, at the same time, work may continue to expand the expected operating conditions, for example, to confirm the ability to fly at extreme temperatures, in the highlands. Using an aircraft transferred to controlled operation to perform a number of certification flights is a way to optimize the test program.

- It is also assumed that your After-sales Service Center will appear at the Krasnoyarsk airport. Tell us about the configuration of the Center, about the tasks that it will solve and about the timing of the project.- It is correct to say that this will be an after-sales service center focused on domestic regional aircraft.

Naturally, we are interested in him effectively helping the operators of our Baikal and Ladoga aircraft. To this end, we will assist in the creation of a spare parts warehouse on the site, we will provide engineering services. We are also interested in creating an aviation training center that will allow us to train personnel for the operation of our aircraft.

The agreement signed in Krasnoyarsk itself is a framework agreement, it does not fix specific deadlines for the establishment of the Center for the Development of Vocational Training.

- Among the tasks that UZGA faces is "the creation of service units in various regions of Russia." Will the Center in Krasnoyarsk be the first, what will be the rest of the geography of the development of service units and their capabilities?- At least 100 aircraft designed and manufactured by JSC UZGA, which will be operated by airlines in Western and Eastern Siberia, will fall into the area of responsibility of the Center, which will be established in Krasnoyarsk.

For operators based in the Far Eastern Federal District, it is advisable to create a PPO Center in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, this project has already been announced. But it should also be emphasized that UZGA JSC does not restrict third-party players in mastering the maintenance and repair of our aircraft. We are interested in developing a competitive environment.

- The latest news about the process of working on the VK-800SM engine came out quite recently, in March, and were associated with successful tests of an autonomous combustion chamber installation. Is everything going according to plan with the testing of the unit, what are the deadlines for launching it into mass production?- In March, we announced the key dates for the creation of the VK-800SM engine, and today we confirm these dates.

In the summer of this year, bench tests of the engine will begin, by the end of 2023 we will conduct enough bench tests to ensure the first flight as part of a flying laboratory. In the second half of 2024, the engine is scheduled to be installed on the LMS-901 Baikal aircraft and the start of flight tests. And by the end of 2024, we expect to pass the certification of an aircraft with a domestic power plant.

- The development of the VK-800SM began in a third-party organization of the UEC-Klimov, but in the end you took this part for yourself. In one of the sources, we found information that about 1.5-2% of foreign components remained in Baikal, but it is clear that all aircraft should be completely localized in Russia. When will Baikal and Ladoga be 100% Russian, or is it already possible to say so?- The assessment of the share of components of foreign origin at the level of 1.5% related to the VK-800SM engine.

By the time its mass production is mastered, the share of imports will be reduced to zero. Both in the Baikal project and in the Ladoga project, we rely on components of domestic production, all suppliers of systems are Russian companies, and we broadcast to all of them the requirement to ensure import independence.

Of course, I cannot rule out that products of foreign origin will be used at the level of individual components included in the systems. But there is no doubt that this will not affect the possibility of serial production of our aircraft.

As for the Ladoga aircraft, we still have a question about choosing a supplier of buffet and kitchen equipment. In Russia, such competencies are just being mastered. Similarly, there is a question about the life rafts that Ladoga needs to fly over water spaces. Domestic products exist, but they are inferior in their characteristics to foreign ones. Is it critical to use foreign products in these cases, especially if we are talking about the first production aircraft? I'm sure it's not critical.

- What is the share of participation of third-party contractors in the creation of Baikal and Ladoga, do you have any doubts about the quality of products, compliance with the delivery dates of products for the assembly of aircraft?- We are constantly monitoring the work of our partners in the construction of units and the production of components and systems for experimental aircraft.

Now there is no reason to worry - all suppliers meet the stated deadlines.

As for the issue of quality, this is a prerequisite for cooperation - we interact only with those enterprises that have the necessary set of licenses and certificates, at the sites of which independent quality inspections work. Naturally, we carry out strict entrance control of all products.

- How well-established is the scheme of interaction with contractors for the production of Baikal and Ladoga today? Does it allow you to predict the prices of aircraft for the future and make them as affordable as possible for the customer?- Today, both under the LMS-901 program and under the TVRS-44 program, a cooperation has been formed, which includes enterprises included in the contour of UZGA JSC, included in our parent holding Dynamics, as well as external suppliers.

Cooperation is defined both for the construction of prototypes and for mass production.

I cannot rule out that during the development of serial production, the configuration of cooperative chains will change - this is a normal practice when a finalist company masters some technologies independently, on the contrary, outsources some. You have clearly stated our priorities in your questions: we need high-quality components, delivery on time and the best prices on the market.

- According to the aviation industry development program, 140 units of TVRS-44 Ladoga and 154 Baikal (LMS-901) should be produced in the Russian Federation by 2030, among other things. What, first of all, does the implementation of this production plan depend on?- We see sufficient demand for these types of aircraft.

We have no doubt that our production facilities in the Sverdlovsk region will allow us to assemble 25 aircraft of each type annually, and we are also confident in our key partners.

Unfortunately, I cannot make forecasts regarding the medium-term sustainability of our suppliers. There are no grounds for concern right now, but we will keep our finger on the pulse so that no possible problems lead to the disruption of our plans.

- Do you plan to export aircraft? If so, what areas do you consider promising for export?- Our absolute priority is to meet the needs of Russian operators.

Recently, during the visit to Smolensk of the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, the need of the Russian market for 550 TVRS-44 aircraft was announced. To build such a number of aircraft is the task of more than one year and more than one five-year plan. A similar situation is with the Baikal aircraft, the production program for which extends into the next decade.

On the other hand, there are not so many aircraft on the world market today that could compete with our products. There are countries that, in the current geopolitical situation, will no longer focus on Western products, there are powers friendly to Russia, and we believe that they will form a significant market for Ladoga and Baikal. According to our estimates, at least 150 nine-seat aircraft can be in demand only in the CIS countries. For planes with a dimension of about 50 seats, the score goes to dozens.

- At what stage is the construction of the site in the SEZ "Titanium Valley" now?- Work on expanding our production capabilities is on schedule.

Two of the four facilities being built for the needs of UZGA JSC have already been commissioned. These are engineering and technical service buildings and a hangar for ground maintenance and testing of aircraft.

Now the construction of a universal production building is in full swing. Its delivery is scheduled for the second half of 2023. And, finally, there is a search for a contractor for the construction of a multifunctional production building. The competitive procedure will last until May 15.

- The governor of the Sverdlovsk region recently noted an acute shortage of personnel in the regional industry. It is well known that this problem is particularly acute in the aircraft industry. What is its scale, in your opinion? What approaches to its solution are used at UZGA?- I agree that the personnel issue is very acute.

However, this has always been the case - good specialists have always been worth their weight in gold. But we are successfully coping with this challenge.

I will say without exaggeration - the personnel service of JSC "UZGA" is one of the strongest in the industry. In addition, we offer our employees a really weighty social package, which includes corporate training and professional development, participation in specialized conferences and seminars, compensation for part of the costs of renting housing. We help with the placement of children in kindergarten and school. But the main thing is that UZGA JSC offers interesting work. We have a lot of projects with good prospects and a lot of creative tasks. Therefore, when it comes to finding qualified specialists, we have something to offer them, and we confidently attract people.

But this, alas, is not enough to close the prospective needs. Therefore, today, together with higher and secondary specialized educational institutions in the region, we are preparing specialists for their needs, offering young people jobs with a stable income after graduation. Experience shows that this mechanism works effectively.

A model of a promising passenger turboprop regional aircraft TVRS-44 "Ladoga", created by JSC "Ural Civil Aviation Plant" (c) JSC "Ural Civil Aviation Plant"General Director of JSC "Ural Civil Aviation Plant" (UZGA) Sergey Fedorov (c) JSC "Ural Civil Aviation Plant"

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Comments [1]
28.05.2023 18:12
У ВКС и гражданской авиации острая проблема в учебных самолётах для подготовки летчиков, курсанты выпускаются с налётом 30-50% от положенного по программе подготовки, поэтому  потребуется ещё несколько сотен самолётов в модификациях для учебных заведений.
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