NAPO looks to participate in Russian RJ project

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Russia’s Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Organisation (NAPO) is priming for the manufacture of the Boeing-supported regional aircraft planned by defence concern Sukhoi.

Until recently, NAPO had been a state-owned enterprise with the controlling stake held by the regional government. It specialises in the assembly of Antonov turboprops and Sukhoi Su-24 and Su-34 fighter aircraft.

Last year, Sukhoi acquired a 74.5% stake in NAPO with a view to fitting it into its military-to-civil conversion programme, centred on developing a family of regional aircraft in co-operation with Ilyushin and Yakovlev.

In March the project won the tender for state financial backing which gives access to budgetary financing in excess of $100 million. A portion of these funds is to be channelled into equipping NAPO for manufacturing new regional jets.

“This will be done in a rather limited timeframe,” says board chairman Valery Prisyazhnyuk. “We are looking at becoming a major production facility involved in the project.”

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft plans to roll out the first sample of its regional jet family in 2005 and launch mass production in 2006.

NAPO general manager Alexander Bobryshev adds that the company is studying options for work on other regional aircraft types. He says: “Given our long-standing relationship with Antonov design bureau, we are also considering participating in its An-148 regional jet production when it comes on stream.”

The manufacturer is continuing to work on enhancing the 27-seat Antonov An-38-200, fitted with Baranov TVD-20M engines, as a new Kemerovo-based regional airline is looking to acquire two aircraft. A couple of these twin-turboprops, powered by Honeywell TPE331-14 engines, are already in service with Siberian carriers Vostok and Alrosa.

Bobryshev says that there are good prospects for marketing the An-38-200 in Malaysia which, in February, accepted an application for a type certificate from NAPO.