The on-site meeting of Duma’s Defense Committee dedicated to the development of Russia’s combat aviation was held at the territory of manufacturing facility of Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (RAC MiG) located in Lukhovitsy (Moscow Region).
During the closed-door meeting the deputies, along with representatives of Ministry of Defense, Research and Development Establishments and national aircraft companies have discussed a number of problems and considered a solution approach for each problem.
Vladimir Komoedov has explained in his opening speech, why the meeting was held at MiG’s site. The ex-commander-in-chief of the Black Sea Fleet named three reasons for that; the first one is 60-year global leadership of RAC MiG in the area of development of tactical aircraft.
The second reason is geopolitical aspect: besides MiG, there is no other full-scale plant specializing in production of fighters in the European Russia. In this context Komoedov laid stress on the importance of the Corporation in terms of providing the stability of military-industrial sector in critical situations.
And the third one is the success of MiG in development of technologies for integration into diversified system during development of aircraft on behalf of USSR air defense forces.
The Lukhovitsi-based plant
The manufacturing facility of RAC MiG was able to manufacture hundreds of aircraft per year during the Soviet era. However, the enterprise has almost stopped the assembly of new aircraft by early 2000s. At present the Lukhovitsi-based plant is undergoing the new birth connected with assimilation of new technologies and increase of its output. The enterprise is equipped with the state-of-the-art digital NC machines.
The major renewal of the MiG’s plant is linked to the development of new family of fighters: MiG-29М/М2 and MiG-29К/КUB, along with «4++»-generation fighter MiG-35. These vehicles are designed as the new platform with a great potential for increasing combat capabilities during a long period of time using technologies incident to the fifth-generation fighters.
The new fighters resemble MiG-29, but in fact these are brand-new vehicles with significant upgrades of fuselage structure and aircraft equipment. Moreover, some parts of these jets are made of new advanced materials.
It is known that the Lukhovitsi-based plant in due time was the leader in the area of assimilation of composites. The manufacturing process was not demonstrated, but the journalists were able to take a look at the products.
The share of composites in the fuselage structure of advanced carrier-based MiG-29 fighters reaches 15%, instead of 2-3% in the first MiG-29s. The jet’s fuel and combat load (4.5 tons of missiles and bombs) increased by half thanks to usage of composites. Theflightlifewasdoubled. In addition, the composites are more resistant to the impact of salt-water environment. The share of polymers, composites, honeycomb blocks and panels in the total weight of the advanced fighter is about 12%, however, without these components the jet’s weight would have increased by 30%.
CEO of RAC MiG, Sergey Korotkov, said that the corporation’s order backlog is assessed at more than $6 billion representing 5 years of full production (until 2017). The signing of new contracts with foreign customers and Russian Ministry of Defense is expected in the nearest future.
Russia will start the deliveries of 29 MiG-29K/KUB fighters to India in 2012.
- 16 such jets have already been delivered to the customer in accordance with the first contract and now we are starting implementation of the second contract on delivery of 29 fighters. We will start the deliveries this year", -Korotkov said following the results of the on-site meeting of Duma’s Defense Committee.
The contracts on deliveries, overhaul and upgrading of aircraft in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America (including deliveries of spare parts to some operators of MiG aircraft) form the basis of export order backlog. India leads the way among the foreign clients of RAC MiG. MiG Corporation is upgrading the jets of Indian air forces in the network of MiG-29 UPG program implemented in accordance with the contract signed in March 2008. The first six jets have undergone the overhaul and upgrading at RAC MiG’s site. Over 90% of the jets will be upgraded in India.
Besides production of carrier-based fighters intended for Indian and Russian navy, RAC MiG should deliver the first MiG-35s to the Russian air forces next year. It is expected that the Ministry of Defense will place additional orders for these jets in 2013-2014.
Russian Ministry of Defense intends to form at least two squadrons of MiG-35s by 2015. Initially it was planned to sign the contract on delivery of MiG-35s to the Russian air forces in 2009, however that did not happen. MiG-35 aircraft will be manufactured in single-seat (MiG-35) and two-seat (MiG-35D) versions.
According to the state defense order, four new MiG aircraft will be delivered to the military forces next year and the deliveries of first multi-role MiG-35 aircraft is scheduled for 2014. The first vehicle intended for Russian air forces has already been placed on the aircraft assembly jig.
RAC MiG is also taking part in the project launched by Sukhoi Holding Company after winning the corresponding tender. MiG and Sukhoi have signed a cooperation agreement in the network of development of UAVs. Russian Ministry of Defense selected Sukhoi as the developer of heavy attack UAV in July 2012.
Nowadays MiG aircraft are manufactured by three plants located in Lukhovitsi, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod.
The airframe is manufactured in Moscow, major components – in Nizhny Novgorod and wings – in Lukhovitsi. The final assembly of the fighters is carried out in Lukhovitsi. The composite parts are also
manufactured in Lukhovitsi.
There are a lot of young people at Lukhovitsi plant, you can tell it by the employees working on the jigs. They may pass the blue-collar job training in Polytechnic College and Lukhovitsi-based aviation technical school. A lot of production workers came from the cities of Moscow and Ryazan Region.
For example, the lowest salary of the NC machine operator is 18 thousand rubles per month (the highest salary was not unveiled). The enterprise is also attracting employees with benefits package, for instance, you may have dinner at the plant’s dining room for just 60 rubles. You may also send your children to a recreation camp for only 10% of the original cost of trip ticket. The trade union pays for expensive surgeries. Many employees are studying in Moscow Aviation Institute for the corporation’s account. Target training in higher and secondary education institutions at the expense of RAC MiG is available for a number of specialties. The full-time education students are provided with additional paid holidays with retention of their average earnings in order to pass an interim attestation, defend a graduate qualification work and pass the final state examinations. In accordance with their contract, they must be working at the enterprise for at least 5 years after the training. Almost every such graduate is a big fan of aircraft industry. They are working in a quality manner and becoming experienced top-ranked specialists in few years.
"RAC MiG did not lose its potential and its situation is not critical. There are some problems but they are of working nature and they may be quickly and efficiently solved in the presence of state support", - CEO of RAC MiG, Sergey Korotkov, said.
The situation on other enterprises of the aircraft industry was also considered during the meeting in Lukhovitsi. Following the results of the on-site meeting the Duma’s Defense Committee will finalize and submit the corresponding proposals to the government’s consideration.
Sergey Korotkov noted that the latest ideas and solutions have been implemented during development of advanced multi-role MiG aircraft. As a result, these jets meet all the international requirements in their class and have a competitive edge at the global arms market. Russian military products are traditionally dominating by the “efficiency-cost” criteria.
In addition, RAC MiG has a good potential for development in the long-term perspective and this is the major guarantee of its future.