There are plans to resume production of the Il-114 – but what exactly are its prospects?

The plan to resume Il-114 production in Russia, about which AIR International wrote a year ago, is still going on, but the deadlines are shifting to the right. A year ago the commencement of production of the renewed Il-114- 300 in Russia was scheduled for 2019, but now 2021 is mentioned.

In May 2016 the Sokol plant of Nizhny Novgorod, a facility belonging to MiG, was selected to produce the aircraft. In January 2017 United Aircraft Corporation President Yury Slusar revealed the target production rate will be 12 aircraft a year.

Funding Question

Real actions are not going beyond paper and declarations. On December 26, 2016, the Russian government decided to grant RUB 1.517 billion (about $25 million according to present currency rate) to the United Aircraft Corporation for the company to launch series production of the Il-114-300 aircraft, and a further R783 million to United Engine Corporation for the aircraft’s TV7-117SM engine.

This is not big money in comparison to the needs of the programme. Moreover, in the government’s decision there is a clause that the money for the Il-114 and TV7-117SM engine will be transferred from “budget extra profits” from dividends and sales of stocks of Rosneftegaz: that is, if there is no extra profit, there will be no Il-114 funding.

In the business plan of 2015, it was calculated that the refreshing of the Il-114 design, digitalisation of the documentation and preparation of aircraft’s production would cost RUB 32 billion and the engine an additional RUB 5.5 billion. Later, it would be necessary to pump a further RUB 22 billion into subsidies for leasing companies to sell these aircraft. Everything is to be funded by the Russian government.

The objective of the Il-114 programme is not to make a product that could later generate profits. Rather, in the government’s decision of December 2016, a social objective was defined – “to provide utilisation of capacity of the aircraft industry enterprises” – as was a political one – “to reduce dependence of the Russian air transport on purchases of foreign aircraft.”

Refreshed Design

The Il-114 is a regional turboprop with accommodation for 64 passengers. The aircraft made its maiden flight at the very end of the Soviet Union, on March 29, 1990, piloted by Vyacheslav Belousov. After three test aircraft were built by Ilyushin in Moscow, series production was launched in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. However, only 15 production aircraft were completed between 1992 and 2012, including seven in the Il-114-100 version, with engines by Pratt & Whitney and avionics by Rockwell Collins.

These seven Il-114-100s are the only aircraft in commercial operation presently, all used by Uzbekistan Airways. The only example currently flying in Russia is the Il-114LL flying test-bed, since 2005 used by the Radar MMS company of St Petersburg for trials of elements of the Kasatka mission system.

The most important changes in the upgraded Il-114-300 aircraft in comparison with the basic Il-114 is the use of TV7-117SM engines, difiering from the TV-117S engines in having a new BARK-65 full authority digital engine control system and SV-34.03 propellers from the Russian company Aerosila.

The TV7-117SM engine already exists. Seven have been made since 2005; two are currently in operation, on the Il-114LL. The task now is to extend the engine’s time between overhauls from the current 2,275 hours (1,500 cycles) to 6,000 hours.

This Il-114LL (Letayushchaya Laboratoriya, flying test bed) is the only Il-114 currently still flying in Russia. It is used by the Radar MMS company in St Petersburg for trials of elements of the Kasatka maritime patrol system. All photos Piotr Butowski
The seven Il-114-100s are the only aircraft in commercial operation presently, all used by Uzbekistan Airways.
An attempt to save the Il-114 programme was the equipment of the aircraft with Pratt Whitney PW127H engines and Rockwell Collins avionics. Only seven such examples, designated Il-114-100, were made.

The Il-114-300 will also be fitted with new TA14-114 auxiliary power unit. The upgraded TsPNK-114M2 avionics system will be fitted. The passenger cabin is to be completely renewed. All aircraft’s equipment will be of Russian production.

Before launching production of the new version Il-114-300, the Russians would like to complete in Nizhny Novgorod several aircraft from the 12 airframes remaining in Tashkent in various stages of completion, four to eight of which would be advanced enough to be worth purchase and completion. According to Slusar, negotiations over the transfer of these aircraft to Russia continue.

In the plans for the more distant future are several versions of the basic aircraft. The Il-114-300T is a typical cargo version for transporting containers. The Il-114-300L (Lizhnyi, skids) is the variant with ski undercarriage for the Arctic. The Il-114-400 is to be a stretched version, but this project has poor chances of implementation because of the lack of a Russian turboprop engine rated at 4,000shp, which would be necessary for the Il-114-400 version. The TV7-117SM rated at 2,650shp (1,976kW) is currently the most powerful engine of this class available in Russia.

The Market

The greatest problem for the Il-114, if it is considered a commercial project, is obviously the market. It is hard to expect sales of passenger versions of the Il-114 outside Russia, apart from countries such as Cuba or North Korea, although the Russians declare they are also holding talks about it with India, Venezuela, Algeria, Angola, Vietnam and others.

Russian carriers are not very interested in this aircraft. Current An- 24 operators in Russia are small, local airlines that have no money for new aircraft. The Aviakor plant of Samara, which wanted to produce the Il-114 in 2015, estimated the demand among Russian commercial operators at a mere 31 aircraft. The estimations of the politicians are much higher; in March 2016, Russian deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin stated that by 2030 Russian airlines would need “at least 150 Il-114 aircraft”.

Special Duty Versions

According to Aviakor’s business plan, the largest part of Il-114 production would be special duty versions for the military and other agencies. The demand for such aircraft in Russia was estimated at more than 70 examples (including 35 for the Russian Navy and 28 for the Federal Security Service’s Border Guard) and abroad for 110-130 examples.

In cooperation with the Radar MMS design bureau, maritime patrol aircraft with the Kasatka mission system in several configurations are to be developed. The most powerful version, the Il-114MP, is to be a maritime patrol aircraft fitted with radar, electro-optical turret, radio sonobuoy system, magnetic anomaly detector and electronic support measures, and able to carry weapons, including two Kh-35 anti-ship missiles. The greatest problem, like in the case of the stretched Il-114-400 version, is the lack of a turboprop engine in Russia, suitable for patrol versions weighing up to 30,000kg (66,138lb). By comparison, the passenger version of the Il-114- 300 weighs 23,500kg (51,808lb). Piotr Butowski