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«Aerospace complex» Magazine,vol.3, №4'2004

«High technologies from the Yakovlevfor China's aircraft market»

N. NOVICHKOV

Генеральный директор О.Демченко
 Director General of the
 Yakovlev Designe Bureau
 O.Demchenko

It's common knowledge that over the past decade China has been a major buyer of the Russian military equipment, including its aviation types. However, it's becoming obvious that the gradual saturation of the Chinese market with the Russian-made arms and military hardware couldn't but re-focus China's policy pursued in military technical cooperation (MTC) with Russia. At the current stage of Russo-Chinese MTC China is particularly keen to cooperate with Russia in transfer of military technologies as well as in joint research and development under some military projects. Moreover, China is increasingly orientating itself towards co-development with Russia of high-tech products, especially those delivered by aviation science and technology.

Among Russia's aircraft design bureaus cooperating with China the Yakovlev Design Bureau stands out from others as a company having a unique experience in such areas as unmanned flying vehicles, educational and operational trainer aeroplanes as well as civil short and medium haul aircraft. Seeking for the newest high technologies, over recent years the Chinese aviation industry has spotted the superior capability of the Yakovlev OKB in development of educational / operational trainers and civil aircraft.

According to Oleg Demchenko, the Yakovlev Design Bureau, in the last three years, under the order of China's AV1C-2 (Aviation Industry of China/Second Group), the company has provided consulting services and prepared a concept specification for the L-15 trainer, the development of which is carried out in China. This aircraft will replace the aging K-8 and will be able to compete on China's trainer market against the FTC-2000 aircraft being developed by AV1C-1.

As per O.Demchenko, the Russian company did not participate in designing and building the full-scale mockup of the L-15 aircraft, which is expected to make a demonstration flight at China Air Show-2004 in Zhuhai. The company only assisted in evaluating the concept of the supersonic operational trainer and did associated research and development work under that project.

«We are satisfied with cooperation with the Chinese party under the L-15 project and can't but note the very high professional skills of the Chinese aviation experts. It is not inconceivable that AVIC-2 will be able to continue to cooperate with us under the supersonic trainer program, in the implementation of which the Chinese experts also utilize our experience in building a subsonic Yak-130 aircraft,» - said Oleg Demchenko.

The world's current system of training combat pilots is based on using trainers of three classes, i.e. those for initial, basic and advanced training.

Placing emphasis on re-equipping its National Air Force with modern multi-role fighters, China needs now initial and advanced training aircraft.

By contrast to the concept of the subsonic advanced training aircraft adopted by the Russian Air Force, China opted for building a supersonic trainer of this type. "About 90% of combat pilot's total basic training procedure is spent on flying subsonic trainers that are cheaper to operate than supersonic types. The switch from subsonic trainers to supersonic operational aircraft in the course of advanced flight training takes up only 10% of the required training time" noted Oleg Demchenko.

Experts believe that demand for advanced trainers on China's defense market can be quite high. At the same time, they don't think that in the near term this will exceed 200 supersonic machines of L-15 type.

Also, China is anxious to involve the Yakovlev Design Bureau in building a piston-engined initial training aircraft of a new generation. For example, during MAKS-2003 air show AVIC-2 got interested in a mockup of a new Yak-152 trainer. As is known, this model had been presented at the Russian bid for a concept of a piston-engined initial training aircraft. The bid was won by Su-49 model from the Sukhoi Design Bureau. Now the Yakovlev Design Bureau is negotiating with foreign customers, potential investors in the Yak-152 build program.

As reported by Yaroslav Skalko, Ukraine's Air Force Commander, it is planned to provide basic training for Ukraine's future pilots on new Yak-152 and Yak-130 aircraft designed by the Russians. According to him, the trainers developed to date by the Ukraine fall short of the required standards. For example, first and second year cadets of the Ukraine's flying schools use now Yak-52 aircraft and switch to the Czech-made L-39 trainers in their third year.

According to the Chinese aviation experts, the Yak-152 may become a baseline machine for initial training of China's pilots. The Hundu company that has previously taken up the production of Yak-18s expressed its willingness to join the Yak-152 build program. As per experts, if the Yak-152 program is implemented in China, this machine will find a ready and expansive sales market, which can grow beyond China.

One of the major results of the Yakovlev's work in 2003 was the victory of the MC-21 aircraft project in a bid for short- and medium-haul aircraft for domestic and foreign airlines. The model has been developed on the basis of Yak-242 type by the Yakovlev OKB in association with the Ilyushin Aviation Complex. The design rests not only on scientific and technological experience of work on the Yak-242 but also provides for maximum commonality of on-board systems, equipment and powerplant with those of the MTS aircraft being developed by Russia's companies Il and Irkut and India's HAL Corporation.

The MC-21 airplane was readily embraced by the aircraft market since it meets all the requirements and is able to compete against similar Boeing and Airbus aircraft, outdoing them in price, fuel efficiency and passenger comfort.

For instance, aircraft of the MC-21 project were compared against Airbus company's A32( and Boeing's latest models, B717 and B737 The Russian aircraft features an improved passenger comfort cabin, enhanced (up to 17g/psgr* km) fuel efficiency and reasonable price. In terms of cost-to-effectiveness ratio, the new Russian-built aircraft will significantly outperform similar advanced aircraft offered by the West. It is planned to fit to the aircraft, with the' assistance of TsAGl (Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute), an aerodynami-cally perfect "high-speed" wing. This will increase the aircraft cruising speed to over M=0.8, a very important characteristic for current advanced passenger aircraft. The new development will employ new technologies and materials. For instance, developers of the new powerplant have proposed several variants of an engine with a minimum thrust between 11,000 and 12,000 kgf. Among them are PS-90A-12 and PS-12 engines as well as TRDD-2005 advanced double-flow turbojet engine. It is planned that the new Russian-built engines will feature a very high specific fuel consumption rate, up to 0.5kg/kgf*h. Also, it is possible to fit the new aircraft with foreign-built engines, for instance, with V2500A, CFM56-7B26, and V2527-A5.

The MC-21 aircraft is to replace in Russia all models of Tu- 154B and Tu-154M aircraft as well as Yak-42. It is planned to build within 20 years around 600 aircraft of the MC-21 family, with an annual production rate of 30 to 36 machines. During 2009-2028 it is planned to sell around 640 MC-21 aircraft, of which around 415 examples will go to Russia's domestic market and 225 to foreign customers. It is planned to build on the basis of MC-21 a family of aircraft. Those will be an MC-21-100 aircraft to carry 132 or 116 passengers in a two-class configuration, an MC-21-200 to carry 156 or 140 passengers in a two-class configuration, an MC-21-300 to carry 174 or 158 passengers in atwo-class configuration, an MC-21K to carry cargoes, an MC-21KP to carry cargoes and passengers. If necessary, developers are prepared to offer to the market an MC-21 in a three-class configuration or in a VIP version.

Russia's Federal Civil Aviation Development Program for 2002-2010 and beyond till 2015 estimates construction of the short- and medium haul aircraft at US$ 600 million, of which only US$210 million is expected to be provided by the national budget, whereas the retraining funds (US$ 390 million) are to be obtained by developers from non-budgetary sources.

Having expressed interest in the MC-21 project, China's AVIC-2 has received all the required technical specifications.

Flight performance of MS-21 aircraft fitted with Russian-built engines

Flight performanceМС-21-100МС-21-200МС-21-300
Take-off weight, kg65,80071,10072, 000
Take-off thrust (Н=0, М=0), tf 2x11,8 
Specific fuel consumption in cruising mode, kg/kgf*h 0.545 
Thrust-to-weight ratio0.360.330.328
Number of passengers, men132156174
Weight of fully equipped aircraft, kg37,00038,60039,900
Weight of equipped aircraft per one passenger, kg/psgr280247229
Commercial load at maximum number of passengers, kg12,54014,82016,530
Maximum fuel, kg 22,000 
Cruising flight altitude, m 11,600 
Cruising speed, km/h 850 
Operational flight range at maximum number of passengers, km4,7005,5004,500
Fuel consumption per passenger-kilometer, g/psgr-km21.517.516.6
Runway length, m2,1002,4002,400


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