Billion-dollar production doubling of Russian bomber engines amid sanctions
MOSCOW ($1=60.52 Russian Rubles) — Cruel economic sanctions against Russia have not stopped since the beginning of the year. On February 24, Putin issued an order for Russian troops to invade Ukraine. The leading countries of the world immediately reacted at the first signal and began to impose economic sanctions on Russia almost monthly.
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Access to Western technology was cut off, sources said. No more American, Taiwanese and South Korean chips, semiconductors, integrated circuits and such. There are no more deliveries of structural components for engines, weapon systems, scientific development.
But since the beginning of the war, the Russian defense industry continues to churn out military equipment. Not at the same pace as before, but the production of tanks, planes, self-propelled howitzers and other types of artillery, drones, etc. has not stopped. Almost every month, the Russian army receives one or two full trainloads of weapons going to the front in Ukraine.
And amid all these economic sanctions, when you expect the arms industry to run amok, it continues to develop, as it were, in its own universe, where the economic sanctions do not reach it, as the west would like.
$6.6 billion investment
Amid these sanctions and the ongoing war of attrition, Russia is doubling engine production for its strategic bombers. This was announced on November 16 by the state corporation Rostec.
The Samara enterprise UEC-Kuznetsov launches new production facilities with a total area of 11 thousand square meters and an investment of over 6.6 billion USD. 12 new facilities have been integrated to date, Rostec says in a press release. Nine more are currently under construction, the company adds.
The new production workshops will double the production of key engines – the NK-32 series 02, NK-12MP, NK -25 series aircraft engines and a promising new high-power product.
Kuznetsov NK-32 engines power Russia’s Tu series aircraft. The NK-32 series 02 in particular is powered by none other than Russia’s newest Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic bomber. The same engine, according to open sources, will also power Russia’s next-generation Tupolev PAK DA bomber. The PAK DA is said to be entirely possible never to enter mass production, given the cost of the turnaround and its aftermath once it’s over. However, the doubling of the production of this particular engine somehow completely contradicts such claims.
The other engine that gets the honor of doubling its production is the NK-12MP. This engine was designed to propel an aircraft over long distances, with a horsepower output of 14,795 hp. The NK-12MP powers the strategic aircraft of the Russian Air Force. The first is the Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber and missile platform. The second is the Tupolev Tu-142 – a Soviet/Russian maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare [ASW] aircraft.
3D printing instalation
“The commissioning of new production sites will have a positive impact on the production indicators of our enterprise,” said Alexander Artyukhov, General Director of the United Engine Corporation.
In addition to welding and tooling workstations, the new production halls provide space for a “3D printing installation for ‘growing’ large-sized products,” says Rostec. Plasma and detonation spraying, compressor processing, production and quality control workstations will be launched in the coming months.
At the moment, Russia is diverting quite a large budget to the war in Ukraine. Some scheduled programs that were supposed to start this year and next are likely to be delayed, at least until the end of the decade, experts say. But the launch of doubled production with an investment of 6.6 billion USD raises many questions. For example: is the current effectiveness of the imposed economic sanctions exactly what the Western countries imagined?
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