Sukhoi will decide by the middle of next year whether to shift the Russian Regional Jet’s (RRJ) assembly line from its KnAAPO plant in Komsomolsk-upon-Amur on the Russian Pacific coast to a site in the European part of Russia. The potential move follows heavy pressure from airlines and Sukhoi’s European RRJ partners.

Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan says six RRJ prototypes will be assembled at KnAAPO by 2008 under existing commitments. The decision on a new site is set for mid-2006.

“We are holding intense negotiations with the VASO site in Voronezh in south central Russia. We’ve already agreed with them to supply wing leading-edge and rear surfaces,” Pogosyan says.

Russia’s minister for economic development, German Gref, has confirmed the government will provide Rb8.6 billion ($300 million) in 2006-8 in direct, non-refundable state support for development of the RRJ and its Saturn/Snecma SaM146 engine. “This shows the Russian government’s confidence in this programme. We believe the RRJ has a chance of competing successfully in the global marketplace,” he says.

Gref also said state funding would be limited to technology and development and not production. The government’s contribution is in addition to the 2005 allocation of Rb1 billion in direct funding. The 2005 federal budget also provides guarantees to Russian banks for Rb3 billion of refundable credits. Sukhoi says it has invested Rb3 billion of its own funds and engine maker NPO Saturn a further Rb1 billion into the RRJ’s SaM146 powerplant being developed with Snecma.

Sukhoi estimates that RRJ development will cost Rb20.1 billion, plus Rb4.6 billion for the support infrastructure. When the SaM146 is included, the total rises to Rb43.2 billion.


Source: Flight International