Sunday, October 29, 2023

About This Plane...

 ... which sheds some light on CR 929 fate. Russia continues with her program of updating IL-96 line, as an intermediate wide-body solution, to IL-96-400M. This is the first aircraft of this limited series doing its take-off regime runs yesterday. 

Its four engines are advanced PS-90A3--a further development of venerable high-bypass ratio PS-90A. This aircraft is fully Russian made, from systems to avionics. 

And it should make a first flight by the end of this year and then proceed to have at least two of them produced for government uses, until, it seems, it will be re-motorized to two PD-35 engines. Denis Manturov did confirm the intention to produce this four engine version once tests are completed. IL-96-400M is a full size wide-body and full passenger capacity, being 10 meters longer than IL-96-300 version which Vladimir Putin uses as a Presidential Plane. It is capable of carrying 402 passengers in a single class configuration.  

So, four engines for now. PD-35, meanwhile, produces excellent results at tests. 

Of course, western media wouldn't be western media if they didn't put the story upside down, a euphemism for BS. As they report:

United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) CEO Yury Slyusar earlier this month confirmed for the first time that UAC is no longer a partner in the CR929 joint venture. Although the decision has been made, undoing the joint venture will likely take considerable time, since it involves changing agreements between the governments of China and Russia. Beijing has not commented on the change of plans. The CR929 has accumulated years of delays and is not expected to enter service until well after 2030 due to lengthy negotiations about sharing work and intellectual property. For months, reports indicated that China had decided to pursue the widebody on its own. Keeping a sanctions-ravaged partner on board would make the project even more difficult.Russia still hopes to remain involved. Slyusar says Russian industry plans to continue with the program as a normal supplier and builder of the composite wing, PD-35 engines and other subsystems for the aircraft.

And here is the reason. Yes, sanctions, BUT NOT on Russian aerospace industry, but on Chinese one-Russia simply doesn't want to be embroiled in the project which not only doesn't satisfy Russia's manufacturing share and financial (profit) requirements, but of pure geopolitics. As Comac C919 "experience" shows:

Well, guess what--Chinese want CR929 to be primarily declared as C929 (without R, it already is known as CRAIG C929) and still have a truckload of Western systems in it. And that, once (not "If") the sanctions are imposed and RR or P&W engines will become unavailable, the project will face the necessity of Russian PD-35 be diverted away from Russia's wide-body aircraft or... wait for Chinese turbofan with similar to PD-35 characteristics and this is not coming anytime soon. So, in this case Russia is supposed to pick up the slack? This is a no go for Russia, who obviously is aiming at a fully updated two-engine wide-body IL-96 which will not only be flying domestically and internationally in Asia, but will compete with Western models on non-Western markets being fully Russian and impervious to sanctions. In this case, Russia is not very keen at creating a competitor to own, entering full testing phase, project. Simple as that.

Modern aerospace technologies are crown jewels of industrialized nations and nobody provides access to their best simply because of good relations. And this is worth reminding again:

In the end, quite a few countries can create the air-frame, but to make this air-frame into modern aircraft is a whole other level of expertise altogether. That is why highly advanced Japan failed in her regional jet project, that is why loved by many Embraer is Brazilian in air-frame only, with the rest of it, including E190-series flying on Pratt and Whitney engines and using Western-build systems. Even Bombardier  C-series jets are known today as Airbus A220 and, you already have guessed it, use PW1500 turbofans and only Western-made systems. Hell, Bombardier always was Western by definition. 

And here we are, in the new geopolitical and economic reality and here is the trick--there is ONLY one country which can and does provide, completely out of own resources, the alternative to Western commercial aerospace giants and you already guessed it--Russia. Now, keep an eye on the overall situation with world's de-dollarization, weakening of EU economies and... drum roll--Arab and Sub-Saharan African world having serious second thoughts about the West. Those things always have major geopolitical and economic consequences. Russia is getting ready for that and that explains some reasons behind IL-96-400M and C929 fate.

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