Alexander Velovich/MOSCOW

The Russian Aerospace Agency (RASA), which recently took over responsibility for more than 350 aircraft industry enterprises, is planning a programme-oriented - rather than merger-led - approach to industry restructuring.

RASA's newly appointed industry deputy general-director, Yuriy Bardin, defends Moscow's reluctance to force mergers of aircraft plants and design bureaux, claiming that "the source of difficulties is not in the lack of mergers, but in the necessity to find money flows".

Bardin believes the formation of volunteer consortia for specific programmes - as has been employed on the Beriev Be-200 amphibian, Antonov An-70 propfan transport and Tupolev Tu-334 medium transport - constitutes "a more proper approach" and is "easier to exercise".

According to a government directive, RASA is responsible for formulating a federal programme for civil aviation development from 2001 to 2015, to be made public in October.

"We have many requests [to be included in the programme], but little money available," says Bardin. An important feature of the new programme will be co-operation with foreign partners, although he says it "will not have a scope as large as we had in the Soviet days".

Despite poor financing of the previous programme - down from 0.3% of the state budget in 1992 to 0.1% in 1998 - most of RASA's targets (for the Ilyushin Il-96 and Il-114, Tupolev Tu-204 and Tu-334 and Beriev Be-200) have been reached. They were achieved, however, with delays and a reduction in the number of flying prototypes available.

Source: Flight International