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Black wings will be made in Ulyanovsk

30.11.2011

On Wednesday construction began of the first Russian factory producing composite components for the aircraft industry. The new plant is in one of the buildings of the Aviastar SP aircraft construction plant, on a site of about 64.3 thousand square metres. The partnership agreement on implementing this project was signed 15 February 2010.

Polymer composite material components will be mass produced in Ulyanovsk: centre section panels, longerons and integral outer wing panels for two promising Russian aviation projects, MS-21 and SSJ-1XX NG aircraft. Their final assembly will be done at an aviation plant in Kazan.

"Russian aircraft already use composite materials. They are used for certain elements, wing flaps, yokes etc. Every aviation plant, including in Ulyanovsk and Kazan, has its own composite workshop. However, a whole wing from composite materials has never been produced in Russia before, only some small components. Experts explained that only two companies, Boeing and Airbus, have such experience in the world.

Production in Ulyanovsk will include the complete technological cycle for producing parts from polymer composite materials using non-autoclave infusion: from laying out by-products to geometric and painting control. The technology to be applied is based on a well known composite creation process which is already used in the world. Some processes were significantly modified and patented by Russian inventors.

Work on rebuilding the Aviastar building will begin in January-February next year. The building interior and exterior will be renovated, the windows and doors replaced and new communication lines will be laid. At the end of 2012 the first Spanish, German and French equipment will start arriving. Investment (250 million dollars: funds from shareholders, loans and federal target program) is distributed in the following way: half the funds will be used for reconstruction and the second to equipment procurement.

The plant's first production should be launched in exactly two years time, 30 November 2013. The plant is projected to reach design capacity of 100 sets a year in 2017. At this point the projected revenue should be 300-350 million dollars.

300 jobs will be created when production starts, which will later rise to 600. The plant should outgrow allied enterprises. After basic production has been set up in Ulyanovsk material suppliers will begin work. Negotiations are being held with other companies.

The new plant will increase the possible applications of composite materials in the Russian aviation industry. It is planned that the MS-21 will have 30-40 percent composite materials.

Commentary

Mikhail Pogosyan, President of UAC:

"The creation of a state-of-the-art Russian composite component production is one of the key factors in making a competitive UAC civil aircraft. We are developing a competence centre at the Ulyanovsk plant for development, production and implementation of composite material components, including constructor and technological centres, as well as unit production plants. So we have prepared the first production site for developing the most promising industry technologies in the region."

Information from RG

The main difference of composite materials is the presence of reinforcing parts: threads, fibres and flakes of more durable materials. By combining the volume content of the components, materials can be obtained with the needed durability, elasticity, high temperature resistance etc. They also have the necessary special properties being magnetic and radar absorbent.  The production of wing parts, fuselage parts and other components made from composite materials is considered to be one of the most advanced in the international aviation industry. The Black Wing will give a significant advantage to the aircraft's weight, improve the aerodynamics and make flights more economic.

Victoria Chernysheva
Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta