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U-UAP: 75 years of development

09.07.2014 / Moskovsky Komsomolets

Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant has a lot to be proud of: it produces about 100 helicopters per year, successfully fulfills state order, actively modernizes production and invests into social projects. On the eve of anniversary of one of the key industrial enterprises in the Republic of Buryatia its Managing Director, Leonid Belikh, dwelt on work, achievements and plans of U-UAP.

- How is the plant developing today? What are the key performance indicators for 2014? Is production volume growing?

Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant is planning to celebrate its anniversary in August. Plant tours, exhibition and demonstration flights of helicopters and planes, concert program, as well as honoring best workers will take place within the framework of the program. The celebration date is another reason to recall everything we may be proud of. The plant has gone through 75 years of development. Focused on domestic market, the plant managed to withstand even the toughest 1990s, being left without the state defence order. The plant had to explore international markets. It might have been luck that helped the plant to survive during one year when only one helicopter was produced.

Currently, as a result of system work of the plant and Russian Helicopters company (part of State Corporation Rostec), we managed to reach considerable production volumes and produce about 100 Mi-171 type helicopters annually. For the recent five years the number of produced helicopters has doubled, the sales of helicopters, spare parts and services have increased more than fourfold.

The production of aircraft in accordance with customers' requests is regarded as of paramount importance by us. That is why structural changes to helicopters are constantly introduced, thus improving their technical characteristics. It results in a large amount of trial and certification work. This year our team is faced with tremendous goals.

- Does an aviation plant remain an enterprise with the largest tax payments to the republic budget? If it is possible, could you please provide figures for 2013 and beginning of 2014?

- In 2013 the amount of taxes paid by the plant to the budgets of different levels totaled about RUB 4 bln. The amount of payments to the consolidated budget of the Republic of Buryatia (a federal subject of Russia) increased by more than RUB 1.5 bln, as compared to 2012, and constituted about RUB 2.7 bln. In 2014 about a billion rubles was transfered. Every month more than RUB 200 mln flow into the market of Buryatia in the form of salaries of 6.5 thousand plant workers.

U-UAP is a dominant local employer and city supporting enterprise and the vital functioning of two settlements with the total population of 50 thousand people depends on its activities. This year we are planning to assemble an ultraviolet water decontamination unit to improve the quality of drinking water supplied to settlements. There are cooperation agreements between Russian Helicopters, U-UAP and Buryatia government, as well as the city authorities, aimed at further development of the plant and, finally, improvement of the well-being of the city and republic population.

- Are there any difficulties with helicopter engines supplies from Ukraine, due to the recent events in this country? Are there any problems with other components supplied?

- We buy a large volume of components from allied enterprises. Currently, Center for Procurement and Logistics, part of Russian Helicopters, is managing this process. In the course of cooperation you always have to deal with timeliness, product quality and payment for supplies. All the issues with the Ukrainian partners are currently settled within the framework of a usual production process. There have been no failures with already paid products. All the near-term shippings are confirmed by all the companies. All we need to do is to work hard to fulfill the annual production plan.

At the same time, we all know that nowadays the import substitution program is being elaborated and implemented to minimize the risks of production failures at supplier plants, irregularity of supplies, both in the country on the whole and at the Russian Helicopters plants in particular. Based on the results of the meeting held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, the issue about the organization of production of all necessary components in the short-term in the Russian territory is being seriously worked out.

- Tell us please about international business activity. What countries is your plant working with nowadays?

- The sales geography of different modifications of Mi-171 helicopters has been expanding annually. New buyers of the past and current years include Gana, Indonesia, Peru and other countries. Cooperation with Bangladesh, Brasilia, Kazakhstan is in progress. People's Republic of China remains the largest export partner - we are going to complete a large contract of 2012 for the delivery of Mi-171E helicopters this year. The specifics of this contract, however, as well as the previous one are that helicopters fly to China to be delivered to a customer. It allows not only saving considerable transportation expenses, but also assessing a helicopter in real operation.

State orders form a considerable part of our portfolio. Last year U-UAP dispatched a large batch of helicopters prior to the scheduled date against supplies of 2014-2015. Tremendous work for settling configuration issues has been undertaken to implement this goal. The Ministry of Defense is the customer and operator of advanced and high-technology helicopters fitted with state-of-the-art equipment.

In the conditions of increasing competition it is of utmost importance to maintain uninterrupted operation of helicopters in the period of assigned service life. It is very important to deliver spare parts in time. Timely delivery of spare parts under export contracts is one of the key indicators customers focus on, opting for helicopters of U-UAP production. It should also be remembered that our enterprise is a unique plant in Russia that produces spare parts for Su-25, Su-25UB and Su-25UTG planes.

An important step for our plant was to put into operation a full flight simulator of Mi-171 helicopter in February 2013 and obtain permission in September for its operation from the Federal Air Transport Agency. During this period crews were trained in the training center under the contracts for the delivery of helicopters. Currently the representatives of Russian and foreign operators are being retrained under commercial contracts.

- What are your production plans for the next year?

- We believe that the future of our company is with advanced helicopters. Currently first prototypes of a new medium multirole Mi-171A2 helicopter are undergoing flight tests at the light test base of the National Helicopters Center in Tomilino (Moscow region). Based on the flights by the flying test bed developed on the basis of serial Mi-171, convincing results have been obtained. The use of a new power plant and rotor system improved the helicopter performance.

Large companies (helicopter operators both in the domestic and in the global markets) have already expressed interest in Mi-171A2.

Third and fourth prototypes are under production. Our departments started to work with electronic design documentation, practice new technological processes, introduce inspection and measuring machines as quality control means, etc. within the framework of work on the new helicopter.

Today the plan of technical re-equipment of the enterprise is being implemented, including investment projects. In 2014, for example, the project "Development of an automated incoming inspection room for components on the basis of NASKD (Ground automated control and diagnostic system)" is to be completed.

Considerable amounts of funds have been allocated for technical re-equipment. Our goal is to make our helicopters attractive and satisfying for customers to the outmost. And each plant worker contributes to the achievement of this goal. 

Russian helicopters magazine
Issue #1 (36) 2019
2019 year