The reason for the discussion was the material published by analyst Vasily Savinov in his channel, in which he named the main reason for the lag: our country does not have its own piston engines, and under the conditions of sanctions there is nowhere to get them.
The author cites the example of Turkey, which is not shy about borrowing and importing components, buying the necessary filling from Americans, Canadians, Israelis, and so on:
“The Turks buy piston engines from Bombardier and Pratt & Whitney, and for a turboprop heavy UAV (uncrewed aerial vehicle) they are creating a joint venture with the Ukrainian Motor Sich. But we’re not a bastard, we have our own motto: "100% import substitution". Therefore, we not only do not remember that the "Forposts" produced by UZGA (the Ural Works of Civil Aviation) are an Israeli Searcher, but we are trying to steal the rest, stick our nameplate on top and pass it off as domestic. Alas, bad polymers do not yet allow localizing even relatively simple piston engines. And without engines, mass production of finished products cannot be deployed.
For example, here is the theme “pacer” that has been going on for 8-9 years. The engine for the Orion UAV. Those who look at the engine familiar to every aviator will say: "Yes, this is the Austrian Rotax, it is even written on the covers!" should be strongly criticized. No, now you need to read the inscription on another plate, this is the APD-115T engine. Well, by name. De facto, these are all the same Rotaxes, bought in the same place from Bombardier. And then the show began with the development of budgets, the change of performers, concepts, during which everyone managed to forget a hundred times what and for what purpose.
To begin with, it is generally not clear why they decided to dance from the Canadian base. No, it is clear that there was no one of our own. We would have made our reliable aviation PD, which could pass military acceptance, just by the time the others switched to photonic rockets. Initially, specialists from modeling and small aircraft were taken into the project, everyone there knows simple, like a bicycle, 100-horsepower Rotaxes - this is probably how it all began. But then the military demanded a ceiling of 7,500 meters, which is about the same as in space for an atmospheric Rotax. Bullshit question! Just go and buy a turbocharged version from the same Rotax is not our way. We ourselves, we are for localization! If the turbine is plugged in, it doesn't work. The American-made engine control unit (ECU - engine control unit) does not allow the atmospheric version to operate in turbocharging mode: the system does not understand where the increased air consumption comes from, and got up to self-locking. The control tables were not available, it was not possible to reprogram the ECU ourselves. Yes, with a huge number of private traders who chip and tune PD cards, they could not. However, the engine itself, the materials of the pistons, the oil system, etc. did not imply a turbo option, burnouts and other easily predictable jambs started..."
The analyst gives several more examples of the same kind. Meanwhile, this problem goes back to Soviet times and every year it gets deeper. Here is how sociologist Sergey Belanovsky comments on the situation:
“I have repeatedly written about the production situation at the factories of the USSR. In a way, it was kind of funny, but really sad.
But alas, it got much worse today. Maybe not everywhere? I do not know. But here's a story about motors for a UAV. It's hard to read. Either the engineering culture has been lost, or the leadership is so rotten, or both. "The control unit from the RMZ-500 snowmobile was adapted for the Chinese engine". No, this is not nonsense, not as funny as it seems. You can somehow fit. And, oddly enough, you also need to have brains for this.
Everyone remembers Putin's words: "Let them work it out for themselves, and then we’ll tsap-tsarap it". Here it is - tsap-tsarap (scritch-scratch). Copying an engineering product is not an easy task. I somehow had to do it myself. I wrote about this. The simplest detail - but failed to copy. The Americans used polyamide plastic for what? To reduce the cost, save copper. And our polyamide did not get up, it burst. Not even because it is worse. Different technology, different characteristics. Well, they installed polyurethane, which was expensive in those days. There was no saving, but the task was completed and reported. Just think, Americans! We're cooler.
But connecting blocks from different machines (moreover, from different manufacturers and for different purposes) is still too much. Moreover, the order is for the defense and the apparatus must go into series. Anything happened in the USSR, but I don’t remember anything like that.
And now the web is full of stories like this one.
I am accused of pessimism. Maybe fair. As Toynbee wrote: Sometimes God helps. Let's hope..."