The first experimental IL-114-300 in original livery, December 29, 2019
In 2014, the country’s leadership ordered to expand the production of IL-114 passenger aircraft at domestic enterprises. The next few years were spent on developing an updated project, preparing production facilities and establishing cooperation. By now, the improved Il-114-300 project has reached the stage of construction of prototypes – and flight tests are expected to begin this year. Accordingly, there are opportunities for assessing the prospects of the project.
The basic design of the Il-114 was created in the eighties, taking into account the needs of civil aviation of that time and the capabilities of the Soviet aviation industry. It was a regional liner with a payload of several tons. The first flight of such a machine took place on March 20, 1990. A few years later, serial production began in Tashkent. However, less than 20 machines were built, after which the work was curtailed due to the difficulties of the industry and the lack of interest from customers.
The modern Il-114-300 project provides for the preservation of the general architecture and parts of the aircraft components. At the same time, the power plant and avionics are being replaced by modern models. Due to this, the growth of basic technical and economic characteristics is achieved, as well as full compliance with modern requirements of various kinds is ensured.
Il-114-300 is a twin-engine low-wing aircraft with two turboprop engines TV7-117ST-01 with a capacity of 2650 hp each. and low-noise propellers. An auxiliary power unit TA-1 is envisaged. The aircraft receives a state-of-the-art digital flight and navigation system TsPNK-114M2. The crew includes two pilots.
Manufacturing of fuselage sections at the Aviastar-SP enterprise
In the proposed form, the IL-114-300 will be able to take on board up to 68 passengers or 6.5 tons of other load. Maximum takeoff weight – 23.5 tons. Cruising speed – 500 km / h, range with maximum load – 1900 km. The aircraft is capable of operating at airfields of different classes, incl. with poorly prepared stripes. The use of modern economical engines with highly efficient propellers allows to improve flight performance and economic characteristics in comparison with the basic modification.
The development of the updated project and its individual elements with the subsequent launch of production were entrusted to the United Aircraft Building and United Engine Building Corporation. Several enterprises with extensive experience in the construction and maintenance of civil aviation equipment were attracted to production cooperation.
The Il-114-300 was developed by the Aviation Complex named after V.I. Ilyushin. The production of individual units and the final assembly were distributed between the Voronezh Joint-Stock Aircraft Building Company (VASO), the Ulyanovsk plant Aviastar-SP, the Nizhny Novgorod Sokol and the Lukhovitsk plant of the RSK MiG. A lot of other enterprises-suppliers of individual units are involved in the project. An important feature of the project is the rejection of imported components, all products are produced only by domestic enterprises.
At the moment, such cooperation was able to establish the production of prototype aircraft. Voronezh, Ulyanovsk and Nizhny Novgorod are responsible for the manufacture of various units and systems. The finished products are sent to Lukhovitsy, where the final assembly is carried out. Probably, this approach will continue in the future, when the project reaches mass production.
At the end of December 2019, at the aerodrome of the Flight Research Institute. Gromov, the first prototype Il-114-300 was rolled out in Zhukovsky. According to known data, it was carried out on the basis of the basic Il-114 s / n 01-08, built in 1994 in Tashkent. For a long time, this car was in Zhukovsky, and it was rebuilt according to a modern project.
Now in Lukhovitsy, a second prototype aircraft, z / n 01-10, is being assembled, this aircraft is being built from scratch. It will be completed this year, after which it will be submitted for testing. In February, it became known about the start of production of another aircraft. This will be another prototype, but it is being built entirely according to serial technologies. With its help, all the necessary production processes will be worked out, which in the future will ensure the start of a full-fledged series.
According to recent reports, the first prototype Il-114-300, rebuilt from the “simple” Il-114, should now go to ground tests. These activities will take several months, and the first test flights will begin in November. By that time, the first prototype of the new building will be released from the assembly shop.
Flight tests will continue during 2020-22. By the beginning of 2023, AK im. Ilyushina plans to complete the certification of a new model, and then begin mass production with the delivery of finished machines to customers. It should be noted that the Il-114-300 project faced significant difficulties, due to which the deadlines for the implementation of its various stages were repeatedly shifted. It cannot be ruled out that at the testing stage, aircraft manufacturers will deviate from the schedule. However, the delay should not be long, and the operation of the aircraft will begin no later than the middle of the new decade.
Waiting for orders
The first agreement on the supply of future Il-114-300s appeared in 2017. The State Transport Leasing Company placed a preliminary order for fifty aircraft. In the foreseeable future, it was planned to bring it to the state of a full-fledged supply contract.
Assembly of the fuselage section at the Sokol plant
In June 2019, the management of RSK MiG announced the presence of several customers. At the end of August, three preliminary agreements appeared for the supply of 16 aircraft to various airlines. The largest order, for 8 aircraft, was placed by the Yakutsk Polar Airlines. The smallest order is from the KrasAvia company from the Krasnoyarsk Territory, which plans to receive three aircraft.
According to known data, the delivery of 16 aircraft to three customers will take several years. The delivery of the first vehicles is scheduled for 2022, the last for 2026. At the same time, the project developers claim that it is possible to enter production of up to 10-12 aircraft per year.
Such production volumes will make sense in the presence of large orders. According to various estimates, Russian airlines need at least several dozen Il-114-300s. Probably, the bulk of orders will begin to arrive after the completion of work on the prototype aircraft.
The successful completion of the Il-114-300 project with the launch of the series and the delivery of finished equipment to customers will solve several important problems in the context of the development of civil aviation. At the same time, such an aircraft is becoming one of several such measures taken in recent years.
The main positive result of the new project is the appearance of another domestic regional aircraft that meets all modern requirements. At the same time, the Il-114-300 is a completely Russian design and is built only with the use of our units. Due to this, the production and operation of equipment will not depend on imports and possible problems with them.
Preparation of parts for transportation – joint production requires well-established logistics
Taking into account the difficult situation in the world and the problems of the leading manufacturers of aviation equipment, it can be assumed that the Il-114-300 has commercial prospects not only in the domestic market. However, one should not hope for the rapid appearance of particularly large export contracts.
The development and preparation of production of the modern Il-114-300 were not simple and cheap. The work was started at the end of 2014, but the prototype aircraft had not yet taken off. In the early stages of the project, the state allocated almost 9.6 billion rubles to carry out the necessary work. Last year, they added 2.22 billion for the organization of serial production.
The expediency of these costs will be shown in the very near future. The ground tests of the first prototype 01-08 are expected to be completed, and its maiden flight will take place by the end of the year. Then the first prototype aircraft built from scratch will join the tests. It will be followed by a serial technology car.
In general, it is already clear that the industry has coped with the task. The existing aircraft underwent a deep modernization and received new components, thanks to which it now meets modern requirements and can find a place in the system of passenger and cargo transportation.
However, all this must be confirmed in practice, within the framework of tests that will start in the near future. 2020 will be a key year in the history of the Il-114-300 project and will determine its real prospects. So far, everything is conducive to optimism.