Kremlin to hand United Aircraft order for 100 jets

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Russia's United Aircraft appears set to receive a substantial government-driven order for more than 100 aircraft across its various airframers.

Speaking during a briefing in Moscow, president Mikhail Pogosyan referred to a "consolidated state order" comprising Ilyushin Il-96, Tupolev Tu-204, Antonov An-148 and Sukhoi Superjet variants, which will provide an important "boost" to production of civil platforms at the company.

This order is being formed by Russia's governmental structures, among them the defence ministry, federal security service, presidential administration and interior ministry.

Pogosyan expects "main decisions" in early 2013 but the signing of contracts might continue through 2013-14.

He declines to specify the precise number of aircraft sought by the Kremlin but says the order "is likely to exceed 100 units".

The An-148 is likely to lead the order, numerically, with the defence ministry alone wanting "more than 10" of the twinjets, Pogosyan says. United Aircraft and Antonov are working jointly on new customised versions.

But Pogosyan does not see a need to raise annual output at the Voronezh-based VASO plant beyond eight to 10 aircraft.

"I think this is a sufficient production rate, meeting solvent demand in the market," he adds.

United Aircraft's civil production will account for more than 20% of its output this year, with around 20 deliveries of Superjets, An-148s, Tu-204s and Il-96s.

Pogosyan says the Irkut MS-21 remains a priority for the long term, despite postponement of the maiden flight to 2015 and entry into service to 2017.

Irkut is yet to finalise contracts with major suppliers and complete formation of an international industrial co-operation, and work on documentation for production has not been finished.