Another version of Tu-214 performed its maiden flight at the airfield of Kazan Aviation Production Association named after S.P. Gorbunov. This version was designated Tu-214VPU (VPU stands for airborne command post), BUSINESS Online reports.
We remind you that the first information related to a Tu-214 jet intended for special aircraft division of the Federal Security Service (FSB) surfaced in August 2011, when the ex-CEO of KAPO, Vasil Kayumov said that “the enterprise received a design specifications for a jet intended for FSB”. The information confirming that FSB is ready to purchase Tu-214 jet was posted at the website dedicated to state orders in November 2011. The contract was signed on December 8th 2011.
The aircraft is designated Tu-214VPU. This acronym has already generated a number of guesses related to aircraft’s role. According to a source close to the aircraft industry, this acronym stands for airborne command post. The cost of this vehicle turned out to be a bit surprising - 2,7 billion rubles. To put this in perspective: the cost of a pair of other command posts (Tu-214PU jets) intended for Department of Presidential Affairs was 3,3 billion rubles (1.65 billion per jet).
According to Mr. Kayumov (at present he is the Counselor to the President of United Aircraft Corporation), the completion of Tu-214VPU’s assembly is the primary objective of KAPO. It must be noted that the information related to a tender for certification of Tu-214VPU was posted at the website dedicated to state orders on September 6th 2013. The procedure must be completed by December 31st 2013. The cost of certification is 115 thousand rubles.
Moreover, a number of contracts with KAPO have been approved by the latest meeting of the Board of Directors of Tupolev Company. In particular a number of agreements related to repair, upgrade and maintenance of Tu-22M3 aircraft have been approved. Four contracts related to maintenance and supply of spare parts for Tu-160 have also been approved at the meeting.