Snecma and NPO Saturn of Russia have opened a joint production facility to assemble SaM-146 engines for the Sukhoi Russian Regional Jet (RRJ), writes Tom Zaitsev in Rybinsk.

The plant, located at NPO Saturn’s site in Rybinsk, will operate within the framework of newly established 50/50 joint venture VolgAero.

The other joint venture between the Safran Group unit and NPO Saturn, PowerJet, bears overall responsibility for the SaM-146 programme, including product development, co-ordination, marketing, sales and technical support.

VolgAero plans to assemble up to 1,650 engines worth $5 billion by 2022 with the RRJ as the principal application.

“To date, the overall investment in the project has reached €37 million ($46 million), but will amount to €50 million soon,” says NPO Saturn deputy general director Igor Yudin.

The Russian firm is contributing the plant-building and infrastructural amenities for the facility, while Snecma is supplying most of the equipment.

Both partners have secured substantial backing from their governments for the SaM-146 development programme. The French transport ministry last summer extended a reimbursable loan of €140 million to finance work on the powerplant’s high-pressure section and other components developed by Snecma.

“For our part, in addition to Rb3.9 billion [$136 million] of our own funds, we have secured Rb3.7 billion from the state budget and Rb2.4 billion in government-backed commercial loans,” says Yudin.

VolgAero will assemble 20 prototype engines, including eight for ground testing and a dozen for on-the-wing testing.

Yudin says the first SaM-146 is to be completed next April and testing is due to begin in May.

Source: Flight International