Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation has begun work on the development of a twin-seat, single-engine MiG-UTS training aircraft as the country further isolates from international defence reliance.
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Russian state-owned conglomerate Rostec, which acquired United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in 2018, announced late last year that the new jet trainer aircraft will be created as an affordable and inexpensive version to operate system for basic pilot training, high overload training, and combat mission training.
The aircraft will field a Ukrainian designed AI-222-25 turbofan engine produced from Russia’s United Engine Corporation Salyut production complex and used on current Yakovlev Yak-130 subsonic light combat aircraft, according to MiG-UTS training complex chief designer Alexei Shukaylo.
The new trainer aircraft is envisioned to replace ageing Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer aircraft, formerly produced in Czechoslovakia by Aero Vodochody, which have been used for training since the 1970s. Czech Republic’s Aero currently produces an updated L-39NG design.
The Russian Air Force currently operates more than 130 L-39 trainers and has previously donated six of the aircraft to the Central African Republic Air Force and delivered five L-39C aircraft to the Malian Air Force.
“We have great doubts about supporting the operation of the (L-39) aircraft on which the main training of pilots is carried out today,” according to PJSC UAC general designer and deputy general director Sergei Korotkov.
“Therefore, a new training tool is required that will allow us to effectively train flight and technical personnel.”
The company will reportedly speed up development by utilising existing design features and the cockpit basis from a twin-engine Mig-AT advanced training aircraft prototype which flew in 1996 but was later cancelled in 2002.
“We are creating the cheapest, easiest to operate both to pilot and to maintain, single-engine aircraft that fully meets the requirements for the basic training stage,” said RAC MiG director and chief designer Andrei Nedosekin.
The jet trainer development could be attributed to a shortage of foreign-made components due to international sanctions placed on Russia, as the country moves towards more focused domestic production.
UAC reported that it had manufactured and transferred new operational-tactical aircraft Su-57, Su-35S, Su-34, Su-30SM2, military transport aircraft Il-76MD-90A, as well as Yak-130 combat training aircraft under state defence orders with the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The company also stated modernisation and production work had been fulfilled for the Tu-160M strategic bomber aircraft, modernisation had been carried out on MIG-31 fighter jets, and repair work completed on Tu-22M3 long-range aviation aircraft. The company also allegedly increased production volumes by 20 per cent last year.
“UAC enterprises fulfilled their obligations under the state defence order under current year contracts on time,” PJSC UAC general director Yuri Slyusar said.
“For a number of items, we ensured the delivery of military equipment ahead of schedule. We are ensuring the production of the fifth generation Su-57 aircraft at an increasing pace. We increased production volumes of military transport aircraft. We continue to carry out tasks under strategic aviation programs. Production volumes for operational-tactical aircraft have been increased by 30 per cent. Our multifunctional systems show their advantages in real combat conditions. In addition, feedback as a result of operation allows our engineers and designers to quickly improve aircraft equipment and ensure modernisation at a higher technological level.”
In line with increasing production volumes, UAC stated it had increased wages by 17 per cent in 2023 or more than 20 per cent for some factories to attract new personnel, as well as launching a unified corporate housing program to assist employees paying mortgages or renting.