Cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan in the aircraft industry. Prospects and opportunities
05/13/2022, 13:55 188
TAPOiCH, 1987. Assembly of IL-76. Photo from the Museum of S.V. Ilyushin /
At the international industrial exhibition "Innoprom. Central Asia 2022”, which was held in April in Tashkent, the Governor of the Ulyanovsk region Alexei Russkikh expressed the opinion that the Republic of Uzbekistan retained competencies in the field of aircraft manufacturing, and in the future we can talk about the resumption of production of heavy transport aircraft Il-76.
Earlier in March, the possibilities of cooperation were discussed in Kazan at a round table on investment and economic cooperation between Uzbekistan and Tatarstan. Assistant to the President of Tatarstan Ravil Zaripov noted that the republic is counting on mutual cooperation in the joint production of some components for the Tu-214 passenger aircraft, the increase in production of which is planned at the Kazan Aviation Plant.
Deputy Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Khurram Teshabaev then said during the round table that there were already agreements to expand the list of component base produced at the Tashkent Mechanical Plant.
The issues of cooperation between Moscow and Tashkent in the aircraft industry have been raised at different levels more than once. Russia is interested in joint work. Uzbekistan is the most industrially developed state among other republics of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. But today it is impossible to resume the production of IL-76 in Uzbekistan. There are several reasons.
Firstly, the TAPOiCh plant in Tashkent ceased to exist in 2012, when it was transformed into the Tashkent Mechanical Plant. For 10 years, a significant part of the equipment for the construction of aircraft has been dismantled, and the enterprise itself has changed its production profile, now it produces consumer goods, as well as components and spare parts for railway transport.
Secondly, the issue of technology remains open. Even if TMZ retains all the industrial equipment that was used to build the Il-76, it is already outdated both morally and physically, and a complete re-equipment of the plant would be required. In Ulyanovsk, for example, it took more than five years to introduce a modern assembly line for the IL-76MD-90A stackless assembly and to produce the first four machines on this line. Huge financial resources were invested, specialists and engineering staff were trained. Modern technologies that are used in the construction of Il-76MD-90A aircraft are very different from what was previously used in Tashkent.
But despite this, the republic has the potential and opportunities for cooperation in the aircraft industry - this is the production of components. The Uzbekistan Airways Technics enterprise operates in Uzbekistan, formerly the 243rd aircraft repair plant, where the repair and maintenance of all Soviet Aeroflot equipment was carried out. UAT has competencies in the field of maintenance and repair of modern Boeing and Airbus aircraft, aircraft painting, inspection of aircraft components, manufacturing of cabin equipment, maintenance and repair of aggregates and components made of PCM.
In addition, Uzbekistan has a wide and well-equipped base for smelting metals, metalworking, manufacturing rubber and polymer-plastic products. The necessary capacities are functioning in Tashkent and other cities of the republic, including at the Tashkent Mechanical Plant. Therefore, the competence for the production of components for the needs of the aircraft industry in the republic is sufficient, and attracting these capacities to participate in cooperation in the construction of Tu-214 aircraft is a very real task.
The issue of resuming cooperation with Uzbekistan in the aircraft industry did not arise by chance or because of anti-Russian sanctions against domestic civil aviation. Back in 2017, Dmitry Rogozin, who then held the post of branch vice-premier, came to Tashkent. He discussed with the leadership of the republic two promising projects - cooperation in the production of MS-21 and the creation of a center for the maintenance of these aircraft.
In December 2020, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev told the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov about his desire to revive the aircraft plant in Tashkent. However, at present, issues of cooperation in the aircraft industry remain at the stage of preliminary proposals and discussions. It will be possible to return to more detailed negotiations and the development of specific joint actions in a few years, when the production of the MS-21, Il-114-300, Tu-214, Ladoga and Baikal aircraft will be fully established.
At present, the issue of training and skill level of engineering and technical personnel and blue-collar workers remains open. In 2008, by a decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Tashkent State Aviation Institute was liquidated and included in the Tashkent State Technical University as the “Aviation Faculty”. Since August 2020, it has been the Department of Aviation Engineering as part of the Tashkent State Transport University. As stated on the website of the university, the department is a preparatory part of the Faculty of Aviation and Transport Engineering, which also includes the Department of Air Navigation Systems.
Now the Department of Aviation Engineering trains in seven specialties:
"Technical operation of aircraft";
"Technical and technological operation of unmanned aerial systems";
"Aviation engineering (aviation)";
"Aviation engineering (aviation complexes of unmanned aerial vehicles)";
"Design and operation of drones";
"Operation of Aircraft and Aircraft Engines".
A small department, reorganized from a large institute, is completely insufficient for the resumption of a full-fledged modern aircraft industry in a state with a population of 30-35 million people. Therefore, in order to use high-tech equipment and build modern aircraft, it is advisable to organize the process of training specialists from Uzbekistan in Russian universities. After the collapse of the USSR, most of the specialists moved from Tashkent to Voronezh and Ulyanovsk. Now the shortage of personnel in the aircraft industry is the main problem of Uzbekistan, Russia can help in solving it.Andrey Velichko
for the Aviation of Russia website