Kazakhstan is to set up a production plant to produce the new Farmer 2 and Farmer 500 multirole utility aircraft, designed as replacements for the ageing Antonov An-2 crop duster, as well as a new aircraft known as Sunkar from scratch.
The new facility plant, costing 3.75 billion tenge ($25 million), will be in Novouzenka in Kazakhstan's Karaganda region and will be the product of a partnership between KazAviaSpektr and Russia's MVEN, a Kazan-based manufacturer that produces composite-structure light aircraft, including the Farmer 2 crop-duster, and parachute-rescue systems for light aircraft.
Workers for the Kazakh plant will be trained at MVEN's Kazan facility. The Kazakh transport ministry stresses that the plant will handle what it describes as full-cycle production, not merely assembly work.
Series production is planned to begin in 2011, and the firm hopes to build 50 Farmer 2s and Farmer 500s in the first year. The Farmer aircraft will be built of composite materials that are more resistant to corrosive liquids such as pesticides.
The Farmer 2 is a single-seat, single-engined aircraft powered by a Lycoming IO-360 piston engine, similar in configuration to the Air Tractor, with a wing span of 10.4m (34ft), maximum take-off weight of 1,100kg (2,420lb), payload of 295kg of chemicals and fuel consumption of 32-40 litres/h (8-10.5USgal/h).
The Sunkar will have an MTOW of 1,500kg, payload of 500kg, be powered by a 250hp (185kW) engine and have a range of 540nm (1,000km).
The Kazakh national agricultural holding KazAgro will set up a leasing scheme to enable Kazakh farmers to buy the aircraft.