Posted 10 июля 2023,, 07:25

Published 10 июля 2023,, 07:25

Modified 10 июля 2023,, 08:26

Updated 10 июля 2023,, 08:26

The paradox of the agricultural biplane: the only manufacturer of spare parts for the AN-2 is a NATO country

The paradox of the agricultural biplane: the only manufacturer of spare parts for the AN-2 is a NATO country

10 июля 2023, 07:25
Flights on AN-2 aircraft, which remain important for passenger transportation in the North, may stop in Russia. The problem is in the spare parts. The components for the Soviet aircraft are manufactured only in Poland, and it joined the sanctions. How it happened and what to do — in the material of Novye Izvestia.

Alexander Dybin

The AN-2 aircraft, also known as the «Kukuruznik» (agricultural biplane), was adopted in 1947. It was produced in the Soviet Union until 1971. But, despite this, it still flies, carries passengers, and is actively used in agriculture and forestry. According to experts, up to 1,000 aircraft remain in the country, of which about 400 are flying. Such a successful design. But in recent years, these aircraft have become increasingly difficult to maintain in working order. As it turned out, engine parts are produced only in Poland. In 2023, the supply channel was closed. Pavel Nenastyev, General Director of the DOSAAF Moscow Aviation Repair Plant, told Novye Izvestia that operators and four repair companies have been talking about the problem for a long time. If urgent measures are not taken, then the spare parts stock will last for a year, then flights will have to be stopped.

«The AN-2 aircraft was first released in 1947 in Novosibirsk», — says Pavel Nenastyev, «initially the engines were produced in Voronezh, but they support the operation of the fourteenth and fifteenth series of the engine. But the sixteenth series — the main engine, which is on this aircraft, was produced in Poland and the developer are Poles. We currently have no developer rights to this engine. All engine parts are manufactured in Poland. Accordingly, deliveries are hampered due to sanctions. Our repeated appeals to all authorities about the need to produce and master production here have not been crowned with success».

According to the expert, there are no problems with starting to produce spare parts ourselves. We also make engines for military aircraft and motors for the MS-21. But in order to establish a release, money is needed, and it is also necessary to defeat the bureaucracy.

«There is legislation that regulates the organization of production», — Pavel Nenastyev says, «in order for me to start making some small spare part, it is necessary to conduct qualification tests. This is a very large cost. And repair companies cannot pull it on their own, because this is a very heavy load. For all this, a strong-willed decision of the Ministry of Industry and Trade is necessary. It is necessary to appoint a developer to support this production, coordinate all drawings, all design documentation, and the qualification test program. This is a lot of money, I put one part on the engine and it needs to be driven away, tested for a certain number of hours. At least fifty to sixty hours he should work like this. Only one gasoline how much will it cost?».


Is there an alternative to «Kukuruznik» agricultural biplane?


The An-2 can be replaced by the Baikal aircraft, which is being prepared for production by the Ural Civil Aviation Plant. The first batch is promised to be delivered in 2024 and the market is very much waiting for it. But there are difficulties here too. Firstly, the price — a fully repaired An—2 aircraft costs 12-15 million rubles, Baikal is planned to be sold at 150 million rubles. But there is another problem — the speed of production.

«We assume that this is a good aircraft, according to the characteristics it will completely replace the An-2, but it will be produced by twenty—five aircraft a year, how long does it take to completely replace the flying fleet of 400 aircraft?», — says Pavel Nenastyev.

There is another way. They were looking for a replacement for the «Kukuruznik» agricultural biplane 30 years ago. A more modern AN-3 was released. Several of these machines are still flying. But they could not launch mass production. Nevertheless, in 2013, the TVS-2MS aircraft appeared, which is produced by the Novosibirsk company Rusaviaprom. This is also the same AN-2, but with a different engine — more modern and powerful. But there are problems here too. It turns out that the «Kukuruznik» agricultural biplane from the point of view of Russian legislation is an illegal technique. He still has not received a type certificate and flies by order of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, signed by Khrunichev in 1947. Without a certificate, it is impossible to obtain documents for the modification, which is the TVS-2MS.

«Oddly enough, the Poles have reached the procedure for obtaining a type certificate, the Germans have managed to certify the aircraft, but in Russia it continues to fly without documents, » says Alexey Kryukov, head of the Rusaviaprom plant, «when the question arose about permits for modification — TVS-2MS, then by law modify the aircraft without an approval document not possible. But since it was connected with the fulfillment of the president's instructions, and the plane was needed to fight forest fires, a commission of the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Federal Air Transport Agency was created. I was pleased with the decision by which these planes were allowed to be airlifted. Now there is a question of issuing an additional type certificate, but for this you need to issue such a document for the basic AN-2, the issue is now under consideration in Rosaviation».