India's HAL may join programme as risk-sharing partner to make tailplane and fin

Russia's Komsomolsk-na-Amure Aircraft Production Organisation (KnAAPO) will produce the wing for the Sukhoi/Ilyushin/Yakovlev/Boeing Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) as a risk-sharing partner. Empennage production has been offered to India's Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).

Wing kits will be transported 4,000km (2,485 miles) to NAPO in Novosibirsk, where fuselage production and final assembly will take place, says KnAAPO.

Earlier this year, KnAAPO completed the first phase of its integration with the Sukhoi design house (OKB Sukhoi) and NAPO to form Aviation Military Industrial Complex Sukhoi (AVPK Sukhoi). The merger should be completed before the end of 2003, says Yuri Koptev, general director of Russian state agency Rosaviakcosmos.

It had been thought KnAAPO would join the RRJ project only after AVPK Sukhoi had been established. KnAAPO managers had previously lacked enthusiasm for the RRJ project, intending instead to concentrate resources on production of Su-27SK/30MK/35-series fighters, the Beriev Be-103 amphibian piston and Su-80 regional turboprop aircraft.

In an apparent policy change, KnAAPO decided to bid for a share of RRJ production to prevent work being picked up by competitors. KnAAPO, which remains an independent business unit in AVPK Sukhoi, will meet the cost of setting up the RRJ wing production line using cashflow from fighter sales to China and, more recently, Indonesia.

HAL is understood to have been offered the option of joining the RRJ programme as a risk-sharing partner and manufacturing the tailplane and fin. The Indian market for RRJ-class aircraft is estimated at 100 units. Negotiations between Russian and Indian state officials on "joining forces on regional aircraft projects" have been ongoing for over a year.

Sukhoi says the RRJ avionics supplier will be named in July. Last year Honeywell and Rockwell Collins were invited to bid. Standard requirements to foreign bidders are project participation on risk-sharing terms and placing at least 50% of components production in Russia.

Source: Flight International