FThe fire-fighting squadron, formed on behalf of the President, will receive the first aircraft in 2023. In total, it will include 22 cars, including those equipped with Ukrainian engines. The cost of the project will exceed 50 billion rubles, RBC learned
When will the firefighting squadron start working
A special squadron of Rostec for extinguishing forest fires, formed on behalf of Vladimir Putin, will receive the first aircraft in 2023. This was announced to RBC by Viktor Kladov, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy of the state corporation, on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, which was held in the United Arab Emirates in mid-November.
First, the squadron will begin receiving new Ka-32 and Mi-26 helicopters (from 2023), then Be-200 amphibious aircraft (from 2024), Kladov said. “It is planned to build 10 aircraft for the squadron with the start of deliveries in 2024,” he said. In total, the special fire squadron will include 22 aircraft and helicopters: These are ten Be-200ChS amphibious aircraft, ten Ka-32A11M helicopters and two Mi-26T helicopters.
The implementation of the project has already begun, Kladov stressed. According to him, the basic parameters of the necessary financing have already been determined. However, he did not name the figures, noting that the funds are supposed to be spent on equipping the production and production of a series of aircraft, the formation of an after-sales service system and a spare parts warehouse, as well as the creation of a training center for pilot training. A special squadron was instructed to create at the expense of the National Welfare Fund, to maintain it at the expense of Rostec, the press service of the state corporation told RBC earlier.
A source of RBC in government agencies reported that “preliminary costs for the purchase of 22 [aircraft] and the creation of infrastructure, including a training complex for training pilots, are estimated at 50 55 billion rubles.” But there are no final calculations yet, now everything is under discussion, he added. At the end of 2020The manufacturer of the Be-200 – Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex named after Beriev (part of the UAC) has signed a contract with the Ministry of Emergency Situations for the supply of two amphibious aircraft worth 2.85 billion rubles each. That is, the cost of the Be-200 for the squadron can be estimated at more than 28 billion rubles.
Why do we need a special squadron
Sergey Chemezov, the head of Rostec, proposed to create a squadron to extinguish fires in Russia and abroad in October 2020. According to him, Russia will be able to provide equipment to other countries on a seasonal basis without prejudice to extinguishing fires on its territory, and the creation of an air squadron will become an “international humanitarian project”. In October of this year, it became known that Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed to create a squadron at the expense of the National Welfare Fund, it will be maintained by Rostec.
Various options for organizing the work of the squadron are under discussion. “This is both the creation of a new legal entity and the formation of a squadron on the basis of existing organizations,” the press service of Rostec said earlier. The Ministry of Emergency Situations of RBC reported that the agency does not participate in the development of the project.
Kladov stressed that today the Russian Be-200 aircraft is the most effective fire extinguishing machine, which has undeniable advantages in terms of the speed of water delivery to the source of ignition, can be operated in a complex landscape. Over the past two seasons, Be-200 aircraft have extinguished more than 2,300 fires, he said. “You can all imagine the damage not only to the economy, but also to the ecology of our planet caused by forest fires. Therefore, the demand for our aircraft will only grow,” concluded Kladov.
What are the risks of project implementation
The squadron will be equipped with new aircraft, Rostec emphasizes. At the same time, the Kumertau Aviation Enterprise (Bashkiria; part of the Russian Helicopters holding) has started flight tests of the new Ka-32A11M helicopter. It plans to receive machines in this modificationsquadron— only on November 15th. “We plan to finish certification of the Ka-32A11M in 2023. After that, the machine with the latest electronics and fire extinguishing system will be available to Russian and foreign customers,” the CEO of Russian Helicopters noted (part of Rostec). Andrey Boginsky.
Thus, the Mi-26T can become the first aircraft in the squadron being created. These super-heavy helicopters have been produced since 1980 by Rostvertol (part of Russian Helicopters).By 2021, more than 340 cars of several modifications have been built. In what modification the Mi-26 squadron will receive, the representative of Rostec does not specify. But the Mi-26, unlike the Ka-32, are equipped not with Russian, but with Ukrainian D-136 engines produced by “Motor Sich” (Zaporozhye).
Against the background of the deterioration of Russian-Ukrainian relations, operators of Ukrainian equipment are experiencing difficulties, so back in 2018 Boginsky announced the remotorization of the Mi-26 with Russian engines (for example, PD-12V) after 2022. Representative of the United Engine Corporation (UEC; part of Rostec) does not comment on this project.
RBC sent a request to the press service of “Russian Helicopters”.
The Be-200 aircraft has been produced since 2002, since 2016 in Taganrog. By the summer of 2021, a total of 16 production cars were produced (seven in Irkutsk, nine in Taganrog). That is, the rate of assembly of the Be-200 by TANTK specialists does not exceed two aircraft per year. In 2017, the Ministry of Defense sued the plant for 6.7 billion rubles due to non-delivery of aircraft. Modernization and preparation of production in Taganrog are underway indue to the planned increase in the volume of production of Be-200ChS aircraft, including for the squadron, a representative of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC; part of Rostec) told RBC. “There is potential for expanding the production base. Taking into account the contribution of the existing cooperation, the company is able to meet the growing demand for the Be-200 aircraft,” he emphasizes.
But the supply of the Be-200 may be affected by a problem with the engines. Now these aircraft are equipped with D-436 engines manufactured by Motor-Sich. The UEC has been dealing with this problem since 2018: first, the Be-200 variant with French-Russian SaM146 engines (installed on Superjet) was considered, then with the promising Russian PD-8 engine. “The PD-8 engine, which can be used to remotorize the Be-200, is in the process of manufacturing prototypes and engineering tests,” mdash;UEC press secretary Elena Mokrova told RBC. According to her, the work is going “in a forced mode, in accordance with the approved plans”. Obtaining a type certificate for the PD-8 engine is scheduled for 2023, the press service of Rostec reported in July of this year. The representative of the UAC does not say when the tests of the re-motorized Be-200 will begin.
RBC has sent requests to the press service of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and “Motor Sich”.
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