VLADIMIR KARNOZOV / IRKUTSK Indian and Chinese military orders have until now kept company afloat, shareholders told

Irkutsk Aircraft Production Organization (IAPO), the Irkutsk, Siberia-based principal manufacturer of Sukhoi twin-seat fighters, has been kept afloat by large Indian and Chinese orders, the company revealed to shareholders at a meeting late last month. Despite the emphasis on military work, the company is planning to expand its efforts in the civil field.

The company reported sales of $170 million in 2000. A joint-stock company with 14% of its shares held by the state and 15% controlled by a US investor, IAPO is a member in AVPK Sukhoi aviation industrial complex that also lists the OKB Sukhoi design house and other production sites among its members.

Last year saw IAPO concentrating its efforts on building the first Su-30MKI multirole fighters for India and Su-27UBK operational trainers for China.

Three Indian aircraft have been assembled and flown, and a fourth is to roll out this month. Deliveries will start by the fourth quarter of this year, following completion of flight tests (Flight International, 15-21 May). The first batch will consist of 10 aircraft built to Su-30MKI Stage I standard. The final product, Su-30MKI Stage III, is expected to be flight-tested and put into production within 24 months, says IAPO chairman Aleksei Fiodorov.

India will continue to be IAPO's major funding source over the next few years after New Delhi and Moscow signed a $2 billion deal last December on licensed production of 140 aircraft by Hindustan Aero-nautics (HAL), from 2004. The company is also involved in supporting 18 Su-30Ks already in Indian service, where efforts are being concentrated on improving the Su-30K's powerplant reliability and performance.

Last year IAPO also assembled and delivered to China eight Su-27UBKs and made parts for 10 more airframes that are to be assembled this year. These will supplement the Su-27SK single seat interceptors and Su-30MKK twinseat multirole fighters that are built by AVPK Sukhoi partner KnAAPO.

Company plans to increase civilian airframe projects were endorsed by shareholders at the meeting. Certification of the Beriev Be-200 twinjet amphibian is expected by the year-end. IAPO is completing assembly of a second airframe, while accelerating manufacture of parts for seven Be-200s ordered by Russia's ministry for emergencies.

This year IAPO has already committed to the joint development, with Ilyushin and HAL, of theIl-214 twinjet family that will include airlifter and 100-120 seat transport variants. IAPO has also initiated feasibility studies jointly with Beriev on the Be-132MK twin-turboprop commuter aircraft.

Source: Flight International