Ian Sheppard/London

British Aerospace Regional Aircraft has dispatched the first raw material to Uzbekistan's Tashkent Aircraft Production factory (TAPO), which will produce 20 shipsets of nose-section components for the Avro RJ regional jets.

The parts are now produced by Avro supplier Midcast Engineering of Maesteg, South Wales, but, if TAPO performs the work satisfactorily, the entire contract is expected to shift eventually to Uzbekistan as part of the BAe's drive to cut costs.

Woodford, UK-based British Aerospace Regional Aircraft is expected to use the TAPO work to help meet an expected production rate of 23 aircraft next year.

The completed components were to start returning from Tashkent in September in four "drops" of five sets each, but this has probably slipped, says Avro, because of a delay in preparing the raw material. Each shipset comprises eight items - cockpit floor beams - with a kit item consisting of 50-60 "C-class" parts, such as machined brackets. Avro is supplying other parts, such as bushes, bearings and fasteners, to TAPO.

The deal was agreed after Uzbekistan Airlines bought three RJ85 regional jets - but with no official offset. TAPO is already bidding for two other work packages on the RJ series and BAe hopes it will find other subcontracting opportunities in British Aerospace.

Uzbekistan has recently renewed attempts to sell a 25% stake in TAPO, which manufactures the Ilyushin Il-76 freighter and Il-114 regional turboprop (Flight International, 3-9 June), although the work for BAe is being undertaken under a separate cost centre.

Source: Flight International