Clear Progress: Interview with Yury Denisenko, Managing Director of Progress AAC

Clear Progress: Interview with Yury Denisenko, Managing Director of Progress AAC

10.12.2013 / Zolotoy Rog / Pyotr Morozov

Clear Progress

Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company Managing Director Yury Denisenko: “Social responsibility is a core value of Russian Helicopters as a whole and Progress in particular.”

As 2013 comes to a close, Yury Denisenko, MD at Progress Arsenyev Aviation Company, a Russian Helicopters company, reflects on the past year’s achievements, and outlines his plans for 2014.

Yury, tell us a little about the past year’s most important events at the company.

We have seen significant change over the past year, involving the general trajectory of Russian Helicopters, the restructuring of the sector and modernisation of production. These changes chiefly impact the establishing foundry production facilities. In particular this relates to the technological process of how casts are made. Foundry production now involves the use of cold-hardening mixtures, and low pressure casting.

Investment in this has proved more than justified, as today at Progress we have one of the most advanced casing production facilities in Russia in terms of quality. Essentially, we have completed the creation of a foundry centre at Progress to fulfil orders fr om other Russian Helicopters companies in Perm, Rostov-on-Don, and Ulan-Ude. There have been far-reaching changes at the plant’s central laboratory, which has been refitted with the latest equipment. Staff have been trained in special programmes, and now the lab is fully kitted-out to function at the highest possible level.

We have created a dry room to deliver qualitative improvements to painting blades and polymer-composite components. We are preparing to launch another facility, which will paint the Ka-62, our new commercial product. Thanks to the very latest technology, it should get a good depth of colour during the painting process. The new helicopter will be elegant and striking in image as well as functionality.

In the near future we will fully retool our approach to heat treatment. We plan to abolish heat-treatment facilities at individual production sites for protective coverings, heat treatment, forging and casting, and instead bring them all together into one centre within the company.

There will also be big changes to galvanising. We are building a new building that will house two anodizing lines and nine for electroplating. All processes, except for evaporation, will take place in closed spaces, and all will be highly automated.

In 2013 the company continued to fulfil the state defence order for Ka-52 Alligators for the Air Force.

What results have you seen from integrating new technologies?

Chiefly improved productivity, although we’ll only really be able to talk about this after the statistics are accumulated. Nonetheless, if in 2011 the revenue generated per employee stood at 1.791 million roubles, then this year this rose to 2.371 million roubles. Our staff’s professional level has also improved significantly recently. Judging by my personal impressions from visiting European aviation companies, I can say that in terms of production culture and infrastructure we are somewhat ahead of our European colleagues, but in terms of technological preparation we have some things to work on. But we are all facing exactly the same challenges – building reliable and safe aircraft.

How much has the company’s production line changed this year?

In 2013, the company continued to fulfil the state defence order, supplying Ka-52 Alligators to the Air Force. Today, most have already undergone ground and flight testing and are ready to be delivered to the Air Force, and the assembly of the rest is set to be completed on schedule. In summer, the world had a chance to see the Ka-52 at the Le Bourget air show in France, wh ere it successfully completed its demonstration flights. The helicopter sparked genuine interest among participants and spectators at the event.

We carried out a large volume of work on preparations for producing the Ka-52K ship-based helicopter. It is being developed from the Ka-52 Alligator, and will be based on Mistral-class amphibious assault ships. It is important to note, that on 15 November there was a ceremony in France marking the floating out of the first Russian vessel of this class, named Vladivostok. The First Deputy Defence Minister, who visited Progress not that long ago, noted that the factory has received orders for over 30 of these helicopters. In addition, work is underway to launch serial production of the latest commercial helicopter, the Ka-62, which is designed for transporting passengers, carrying out search and rescue operations and other activities. This helicopter can also be used in the oil and gas sector.

In August, at the MAKS-2013 air show, the first test model of this helicopter, built by Progress, was unveiled. In 2014 we plan to deliver another Ka-62 test model for flight testing, and serial production should start in 2015. Today, international operators are showing considerable interest in the Ka-62, and we’ve already had our first orders: Brazilian company Atlas Taxi Aereo and Colombia’s Vertical de Aviacion.

How does production of the Ka-62 differ from that of combat helicopters?

I think that the main difference is not in technological processes, but in the fact that, for the very first time, we are building a helicopter as an international collaborative project. In the future this will allow us to significantly streamline the process of certifying the aircraft to the international norms of flightworthiness that apply in Europe and other parts of the world that are home to our potential customers. Today we are mastering the nuances of international logistics and concluding agreements with international partners.

Progress is seen as a socially oriented company. What social projects did you implement in the past year?

Social responsibility is a core value at Russian Helicopters as a whole and Progress in particular. One of our main activities in this area is the construction of housing for our employees. There are various different options under this initiative: from detached properties to blocks of flats, from mortgages to private financing. It is possible that progress on this difficult issue will be made due to Federal Law No. 161 On Promoting Residential Construction, which aims to develop the affordable housing market.

We can already see some results. On Progress’ initiative, a residential construction cooperative was formed. We are currently resolving the issue of how it will collaborate with the Federal Fund for the Development of Residential Construction, which takes on part of the costs of this kind of infrastructure construction. The companies that will design the first residential properties have already been selected.

We pay a great deal of attention to the health of our people. This year the company clinic was refitted and new ultrasound machines and the latest lab equipment for blood tests are being bought. Medical staff undergo all necessary training. The issue of health assessments for people who don’t undergo regular occupational medicals has also been resolved, after all – as we know – it is much better to prevent illness than to treat it. And this kind of health assessment makes it possible to identify illnesses at an early stage.

We are also working to attract young people to work here. The average age of staff at Progress is 43, and about 1,500 employees are under 30, one quarter of the total workforce.

The company has 6,200 staff in total. Salaries have increased by almost 30% over the past two years, and this year the average salary is about 34,000 roubles per month.

We understand the tasks that face us and those that lie ahead, both for the company and for the sector as a whole. Tapping into our own rich production expertise, specialised knowledge, and professional traditions, Progress will consistently achieve excellent results, improve production quality, work to expand the production line, and can look confidently into the future.  

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