Large-scale production of heavy unmanned aerial vehicles in preparation in Kazan
According to the Tatarstan business resource “BUSINESS Online”, in Timur Latypov’s material “From the Screw: Ivan Egorov sold the Kazan headquarters of Kamges for an unmanned mega-project. Will Alexander Gomzin exchange the exit from the pre-trial detention center for surrendering control over the OKB to them to the Urals Simonova? ”, Plans for the production of heavy drones in Kazan, apparently, have acquired such a scale that the local branch of the Ural Civil Aviation Plant became the leading topic closely at the site near the KVZ. A suitable territory - closer to the Borisoglebskoye airfield - was looked at in the holdings of the Ak Bars holding. But, according to sources of "BUSINESS Online", the appetites of the Urals are such that the next in line is the takeover of OKB named after him. Simonova.
URAL GUESTS FEEL YOURSELF IN KAZAN ALL SURE
The newcomer scandalously appearing in the Tatarstan defense industry community - a separate division of Ural Civil Aviation Plant JSC (UZGA) in Kazan - is becoming an increasingly serious player. The company is expanding and by the end of the year will move to its own site, purchased in March, a BUSINESS Online source in the aviation industry said.
Recall, the Kazan branch of the UZGA was created in the summer of 2019 in order to convey to him the theme of the first heavy drone in Russia, which was conducted by OKB im. Simonova. The reason for the change in the head contractor was called the fact that the bureau did not cope with the task, while the general director - chief designer of OKB Alexander Gomzin is suspected of fraud, abuse of authority and misuse of budget funds. He himself claims that his company was the victim of competing raiders who want to redistribute the financial flows of the state defense order.
Apparently, this refers to the banker and owner of a number of defense industry enterprises Viktor Grigoriev. His NK Bank owns a 48.65% stake in UZGA. They assure that he is close to the Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov ...
The UZGA unit created in Kazan was located near the KVZ, on the territory of the former branch No. 1 of the Moscow Helicopter Plant - it was leased for a long time from KNPP Mi Helicopters, which literally had become part of Azat Hakim's Tulpar Aero Group. Soon, Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko, who visited the plant, assured that the existing backlog under the project would be quickly eliminated and we would see the drone in a new, more perfect guise.
News with leaks went by the river. A device with a satellite communication channel is being tested; in the Western military district will create the first detachment of long-range unmanned scouts - "Altiuses"; the Navy will have a special version of Altius. In August 2019, the Russian Defense Ministry uploaded a video of the first flight of Altius-U. In January, Krivoruchko announced that the agency concluded a contract for the Altius-RU R&D complex to create a reconnaissance-strike complex equipped with satellite communications with artificial intelligence capable of interacting with manned aircraft.
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No doubt, in parallel there was a search for a new location for the company. “Firstly, the current base does not suit her, because everything is pretty up there and you need to seriously invest in repairs, but there is no point in repairing someone else’s property,” says our source. - Secondly, for test flights, secret vehicles had to be transported several times through the city to the aerodrome of the aircraft plant. This is not the case - the final assembly should be near the airfield. " Recall that a photo of Altair appeared in Kazan’s public places, apparently made during one of such transfers. Earlier, one of the sources of “BUSINESS Online” reported that the Urals were considering the possibility of placing directly at the Kazan Aircraft Plant named after Gorbunov, but it is obvious that such an option could also be only intermediate.
Today a solution to the problem has been found: the UZGA branch bought the site “within walking distance” from the Borisoglebskoe airdrome. “Ak Bars Holding sold the former Kamgesenergostroy base to the Urals,” the source said, adding that the deal was finalized in March, and the move will take place by the end of the year.
There is no open access information about the site, but, according to our data, this is 6.5 hectares of land and more than a dozen buildings, most of which are subject to demolition - due to decay. But in excellent condition there are two office blocks (four floors with rooms for 2.5 thousand square meters) and the same number of “squares" of production areas, in particular a large workshop with two crane beams. “For the sake of a piece of land, there was no point in buying, but with these buildings, yes,” the source said. He specified that land with buildings was pledged to Otkritie Bank, with an estimated value of approximately 250 million rubles. “It was necessary to negotiate with him, but it was just very convenient: the money from the UZGA directly goes to the bank, and“ Kamgesa ”solves the problem of loan debt,” the source said.
BUSINESS Online sent corresponding requests to Kamgesenergostroy PJSC to UZGA, but did not receive a response at the time of publication of the article.
“INCREDIBLE PROSPECTIVE DIRECTION”
Denis Fedutinov, the leading Russian expert in the field of unmanned systems, sees the move to a new site logical. “This is a natural process associated with the development of the Kazan branch of UZGA,” he said in an interview with BUSINESS Online. - But I don’t think that the relocation is directly related to the new stage of work: Altius is a large-scale project requiring a sufficiently large team, as well as a substantial material and technical base, not only to accommodate engineering and management personnel, but also for the testing base pilot production. "
“The organization will grow, it has a great future, since the creation of heavy drones is an incredibly promising direction,” said President of the Association of Enterprises and Industrialists of the Republic of Tatarstan Alexander Lavrentiev in confidence in a conversation with “BUSINESS Online”. “And the place where they were sitting is not enough for them.”
The editor-in-chief of the magazine Arsenal of the Fatherland, Viktor Murakhovsky, even believes that almost all unmanned UZGA production can be transferred to Kazan. “They have more and more orders for Outpost and Outpost,” he told BUSINESS Online. “Therefore, their production may well be transferred to Kazan.”
Recall that UZGA has always specialized in the repair of aircraft engines and helicopter gears, but more recently, it has also licensed to assemble Austrian Diamond DA40 NG light aircraft, American Bell-407GXP helicopters and Czech L-410UVP-E20 local airplanes. The plans - to expand the production of the long-awaited Russian engines VK-800C. But in our case, the main thing is that in 2012 UZGA began licensed assembly of the Israeli unmanned systems BirdEye 400 (called Zastava) and Searcher Mk II (Outpost), the largest UAV in the Russian Armed Forces. The company said it would create a fully Russian version of the Outpost - only from domestic components and with original technical solutions. It was reported that the tests of the strike version of the device ("Outpost-M") are being completed - it will become the first Russian strike UAV. For this, the complex will receive radar, optical systems and guided bombs.
DESTINY OKB IM. SIMONOVA: “WANT TO BANK FOR THE SECOND FOUNDER TO PURCHASE DEBT AND BECOME A TOTAL OWNER”
In a word, ambitions are serious, and at the same time, as experts say, so far nothing has indicated that UZGA has an effective design bureau in the field of unmanned systems. This problem is peculiarly resolved after the conflict with OKB. Simonova - profile Kazan designers were forced, almost in full force, to switch to work in a branch of UZGA.
And in connection with this, another revelation of our source is curious. According to him, OKB them. Simonova leaves under UZGA. This is probably about the repurchase by the Urals of all shares of the bureau. In this case, according to our interlocutor, on the former site of Kamges "they will put all their directors", and there will be production on Simon's territory. Moreover, the source is sure: UZGA makes sense to think about buying two more empty sites near the Kambesovskaya site - this is about 2.5 hectares.
Recall, according to some reports, a bunch of UZGA - Grigoryev already today owns about 40% of the OKB. Earlier, the Urals offered to buy all the design bureaus “at the market price,” but they came across Gomzin's decisive refusal, which ended up in a pre-trial detention center. The bureau itself, according to reports, is on the verge of survival. “There are no orders, there is nothing to pay wages,” the source outlined the situation. - There are no options, except for going bankrupt, closing, and putting people out on the street. Therefore, the option of selling shares is inevitable. ”
“They tried to break OKB, and seize its advanced technical base with the help of various lawsuits, they stopped giving state contracts, loans,” says another source. - However, the bureau survived, they put Gomzin in - he does not give up. But the drone was still captured and is now successfully developing the project that Gomzin made, and they call it their project. Under this very big money is allocated to them - both the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Defense. There is a clear redirection of financial flows. Now they just want to bankrupt the company, so that the second founder simply repays the debts and becomes the full owner ... Gomzin does not want to give up. It’s known what they are calling for. Would he do that? Not everyone can withstand such pressure. ”
The source believes that if the agreement on the sale of the design bureau to the Urals is fulfilled, then Gomzin will be released and the case against him will be dropped.
The OKB and UZGA did not respond to the corresponding request of “BUSINESS Online”.
“THIS COW OF MILK WILL NOT BRING - THE UAV WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR AN ARMS
Meanwhile, there are alternative points of view on this conflict. So, one of our sources believes that since a large UAV was taken from the OKB, there’s nothing more to fight for - the company has no other competitive products, and the Altius project itself is a big question.
“And what did Simonov's design bureau do? Nothing, he assures. - The fact that the device took off a couple of times is an achievement? There is no equipment on it. And what mind is UZGA going to bring it to? And most importantly - for what? Can you imagine that such an apparatus was sent to a more or less technically prepared country? And the “Tribute” (the “Tribute” air target complex, designed and manufactured by the Design Bureau, - author's note) does not need anyone in this form. This is a target that must take off and land 10–20 times and which, in the end, is shot down, and it costs more than a cruise missile. “Tribute” - the end of the 70s. Imagine how much this is all behind! In addition, Czech-made engines, and on any of our aircraft, they must be Russian. ” The interlocutor believes that the best times of the company remained in the distant past, when she did the unmanned systems "Stroy A", "Stroy P", "Wing" ... "The future of the company - the Altius project - was taken away, and for reasons of purely administrative resource - who they convinced me, ”says the source. “But this cow will not bring milk - the UAV will never be accepted for service, especially with German engines (Altair, as the UAV itself is called, has RED A03 / V12 engines installed. - Auth.).”
Another interlocutor is perplexed: “Gomzin refuses to give the factory to Grigoriev without a fight. I wonder why this is for Grigoriev, the richest man, a banker. Why is he such a strange asset? Why, if you have 100 sources of income and everything is covered, and this horror is what a toxic topic? Why not let go of this miserable Gomzin? The topic is funny. The device is unsuccessful. Gomzin himself is worthy of respect, and yes, this thing will fly, but to fight - no. My deep conviction: in this project, everything is unsuccessful. And it is completely incomprehensible why everyone grabbed the battle for him. "