АSТО-2018: how bombardiers will disguise aviation industry’s dependence on Shoigu

Kazan is taking on a popular air show in Zhukovsky near Moscow. Organisers of 'I Choose Sky!' aviation festival managed to agree with the Russian Ministry of Defence on the participation of all the types of crews of Long-Range Air Force of Russia. Supersonic bombardiers Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M will take off from the air base near Engels on Friday and head off to Kazan to perform flights in an air show, said deputy director of the Central Air Club of the Republic of Tatarstan Sergey Logvinenko said at a press conference on 7 August. A congress of Russia aircraft manufacturers whose decisions will unlikely be able to solve the old problems will become the highlight of the business programme of ASTO-2018 aviation and space forum. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.

Supersonic launch vehicles to 'explode' Kazan

The next ASTO-2018 Tatarstan aviation forum will take place during the break of MAKS aviation salon, which is held in Zhukovsky near Moscow once in two years. ASTO tries not to lose the interest of the professional community of industrialists but shifts towards a spectacular and absorbing air show for a wide audience more. On 7 August, the organisers of the air forum announced at a special press conference the whole programme of exhibition performances, which notably excels its ''predecessors'' in the diversity of ''flying'' vehicles. It's been complemented with a cavalcade of air vehicles first in the last years: from small and quick Ansat helicopters to secret Тu-160М and Тu-95МS supersonic launch vehicles, which still fly above Syrian provinces shooting by winged rockets.

As deputy director of the Central Air Club of the Republic of Tatarstan Sergey Logvinenko said to Realnoe Vremya, supersonic bombardiers Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3, which are in service in Long-Range Air Force of Russia, would take off from the air base near Engels on Friday and head off to Kazan. According to his words, two strategic bombardiers Tu-160M, one Tu-95MS and two Tu-22M3s will be allocated for the exhibition flights. And commander of Long-Range Air Force of Russia Sergey Kobylash will chair the landing operation of strategic aviation, added Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ildar Mingaleyev. Undoubtedly, the general mayor will become the most honourable guest of the air show. He will be accompanied by pilots of military crews.

At Russian Defence Ministry's Command

Strictly speaking, strategic launch vehicle Tu-160M and its colleague Tu-95MS first flew in the Kazan sky one year ago. But this time they will come with a bigger group. And it seems we should wait for them be back in a year, and in a year more. According to Realnoe Vremya's interlocutors, there was reached an agreement on it between the government of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation one year ago. And the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Factory is the cradle of its revival, while the flights will serve as a reminder of who builds Tu-160.

Tu-160M strategic launch vehicle and its colleague Tu-95MS first flew in the Kazan sky one year ago

Sergey Logvinenko says the strategic aviation detachment will arrive in the centre of the celebration next to Millennium Bridge passing by a possible landing in Borisoglebskoye military aerodrome. They are preparing a direct flight from Engels to Kazan without landing, which will supposedly take 10-15 minutes. Each of the strategic bombardiers will perform two honour laps above the Kazanka River: the first lap at a low speed, the second – at a high, told Sergey Logvinenko. According to him, the take-off of the first board is scheduled at 17.30, while the group of flights finishes at 17.44. So they will be in the Kazan sky above the Cup for just 14 minutes. But the organisers consider this enough for citizens of Kazan to see scaring launch vehicles with their own eyes.

Rus and Kazan helicopters in the sky

By and large, 21-23 different types of planes and Kazan helicopters will take part in the exhibition flights. Rus pilot group from the Vyazem Training Aviation Centre, which has performed in MAKS aviation and space salon many times, promises to demonstrate a similar programme in five reactive L-39 planes. The organisers say even spacemen train on these planes and learn how to control equipment and provide radio exchange between the first pilot and the earth. But the final programme will be approved these days.

Director of Aviaprom PJSC flight service Dmitry Voloshin, the group of pilots arrived in Kazan on 6 August and was going to rehearse and choose the programme then. ''They will certainly demonstrate complicated figures: 100 m downwards and 2,500 m upwards,'' he noted.

According to the rules, they are given 30 minutes. The organisers hope to gather a big audience, as almost every Kazan family probably has a person who's linked with aircraft engineering. Las time, citizens of Kazan didn't know about the flights of Tu-160M and Tu-95MS, this is why not all people could see their flights above the Kazanka River.

АSTО-2018 supressed by Ulyanovsk and Army-2018

АSTО-2018's evident leaning towards entertainment mass show is probably explained because Kazan is gradually losing the representativeness of its guests, as the Ulyanovsk Air Transport Forum with the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Transport and officials of the United Aviation Corporation opens in almost 10 days. And Army-2018 international forum will begin in Kubinka near Moscow at the end of August. Suppressed by these important events, Kazan runs the risk of remaining local.

However, this year ASTO will become the site for the fourth congress of the Union of Aircraft Manufacturers of Russia, which can provide a good attendance. The organisers say 450 representatives of aircraft building enterprises are expected to participate. In general, 150 enterprises will be exhibited in the exposition, while they totalled just 106 two years ago, stressed director of Kazan Fair JSC Lev Semyonov.

Future lies with oil aviation projects

The congress of aircraft manufacturers doesn't promise anything sensational. According to Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Ildar Mingaleyev, the absence of the regulation to promote unmanned vehicles and get rid of unnecessary barriers is the main problem of the sector. For Tatarstan, it's important because the republic hopes to closely undertake this topic, he said.

For instance, the Simonov Test Design Bureau completed the creation of a heavy unmanned vehicle, now the creation of an engine with it is discussed. But, as Mingaleyev noticed, it's a complicated issue, and it won't be solved so fast. In general, the future of the Tatarstan aviation industry lies with the Tu-160M revival project, which has a contract for 10 planes for 160 billion rubles. ''Time will show if it's a lot or little,'' he noted. Ansat lightweight helicopter and certification of the heavy Mi-38 helicopter as a transport helicopter for needs of the Ministry of Defence remain drivers in helicopter engineering. In brief, there is nothing new looming on the horizon. Aircraft building enterprises work only for militaries.

The future of the Tatarstan aviation industry lies with the Tu-160M revival project

In conclusion, Ildar Mingaleyev said the announcement of results of Aircraft Manufacturer of the Year would become an important part of the congress, in which two enterprises from Tatarstan became medallists. ''It's Mven for creation new Murena machine and the Lyceum No.35 for innovations in staff training,'' he said.

By Luiza Ignatyeva. Photo: Maksim Platonov. Video: Kamil Ismailov

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