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Putin discusses big Russian engine for civil aircraft

Alexander Mercouris




The meeting on 23rd September 2017 between President Putin and two of his key economic officials, Economics Minister Oreshkin and Industry Minister Manturov, provided an interesting insight into Russian civil and military aerospace projects.

Here is the exchange between Putin and Manturov as reported by the Kremlin’s website

Vladimir Putin: I have two specific questions regarding the Il-114 regional aircraft and the 35-tonne increase in aircraft engine capacity. How are these projects proceeding, are there any difficulties and what has to be done to support these projects?

Denis Manturov: Mr President, as for the projects that you ordered us to implement last year: these include a new version of Il-96–400, the Il-114, the PD-35 engine, the TB7-117 engine for the Il-114 aircraft that will also be used for the cargo version of the Il-112, and for the Mi-38 helicopter. These projects are proceeding on schedule. We have the funding allocated for 2018, and are now working with the Ministry of Finance to seek funding for 2019–2020. This has yet to be resolved. But as regards 2018, the required funding has been provided in full.

Vladimir Putin: As for 2019–2020 funding, these programmes are important and needed, and everyone expects them to be implemented. Let us arrange it this way: we have funded the spending from Rosneftegaz through 2018, while the expenses for 2019–2020 have to be paid for from the budget. I will arrange for this with the Ministry of Finance.

Denis Manturov: Thank you very much. We will definitely build these aircraft and, most importantly, the engine.

All of these projects are well known save for the big PD-35 aircraft project, which as the exchange between Putin and Manturov makes clear, is however the priority project attracting the most funding.

The fact that Russia was working on a big 30 to 35 tonne aircraft engine to replace the Ukrainian D-18 engine of the Soviet era has been known about since 2015.  It was discussed, in vague and elliptical language, during a meeting in the Kremlin on 3rd August 2015 between Russian President Putin and Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian Deputy Minister in overall charge of Russia’s defence industries.  This is what Rogozin said to Putin during that meeting

Following your instruction, we carried out unprecedented work to restore production in Samara of NK-32 engines for our Tu-160 strategic bomber.

Having analysed the situation and spoken with the designers, we came up with an interesting solution. We think we should look at the issue not as a single priority goal tied to the development of particular models of aircraft, because it takes longer (from three to five years) to develop an engine than to develop a plane. We believe we need to look ahead and create a reserve for the future.

Our solution is based on the work underway at Perm Motors, where we want to develop a gas-generator based engine that would allow us to expand our engine range for aircraft with a take-off thrust of 9 to 16 tonnes.

This would enable us to eventually replace the engines on the new Sukhoi Superjet, develop a replacement for the Ukrainian engines our Mi-26 helicopters are using, and provide engines for the future Russian-Chinese heavy helicopter and a larger version of the MS-21 for 210 passengers.

We can achieve the same goal by enlarging the NK-32 engine’s gas generator. In other words, we can do what we are already doing now for engines for our strategic bombers, adapting them for military transport aircraft and for the Russian-Chinese heavy long-haul wide-bodied aircraft. I have already told our Chinese colleagues that we can do this work independently of any third parties, and they reacted positively to this.

(bold italics added)

Rogozin’s words, though vague, clearly referred to the PD-30, a Kuznetsov design based on the military NK-32 engine which powers Russia’s TU-160 and TU-22M3 supersonic bombers.  Here is how that engine was described in an article dated 4th May 2012

The PD30 is portrayed as a low-risk project through extensive use of off-the-shelf components and technologies proven on other projects. However, it features many innovations: a high-power (50,000 hp, 99 percent efficiency) reduction gearbox between fan and turbine, wide-chord hollow (honeycomb) fan blades, very-low-emission combustor, mono-crystal blades, blisks in the HP compressor and booster, chevron nozzle, all-composite nacelle, intake and thrust reverser, and Fadec.

When fitted to the An-124-300, the PD30 would develop 29.5 metric tons (65,000 pounds) of thrust for takeoff and 5.7 to 6.2 metric tons (12,560- to 13,670 pounds) when cruising at 11,000 meters (36,000 feet). Low specific fuel consumption (SFC) of 0.535-0.548 lb/lb/hr is achieved through a high bypass ratio (between 7.65 and 8.7), while gas temperatures are kept at 1,433K at maximum continuous power.

By comparison, the D18T series 5 delivers 27.85 metric tons (61,400 pounds) thrust at takeoff and 6.28 metric tons (13,840 pounds) in cruise, with an SFC of 0.541 lb/lb/hr. At 5,140 kg (11,330 pounds), the PD30 weighs 560 kg (1,235 pounds) less than the D18T. Kuznetsov says that the PD30 has a similar performance to the Rolls-Royce Trent series, while running at lower temperatures for higher margins and lower emission levels.

The centerpiece of the PD30 project is the use of a “modified baseline gas generator” from the improved NK32 turbofan that powers the Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber. Production of the NK32 was restarted recently, with some 40 engines already manufactured. The fleet leader has logged more than 3,500 flight hours. The modified gas generator is undergoing bench testing, and has so far amassed 1,000 hours. Kuznetsov says its industrial turbine NK36ST that is derived from NK32 has logged 25,000 hours without removal, while running continuously at 1,520K.

(bold italics added)

The fact that the proposed PD-30 is reported to use a “modified baseline gas generator” derived from the NK-32 makes it fairly clear that this was the engine Rogozin was referring to.

The PD-35 – the engine discussed by Putin and Manturov in the Kremlin – is a wholly different design, unrelated to the NK-32, which at 35 tonnes thrust is significantly more powerful than the 30 tonnes thrust PD-30, or indeed the 27 tonnes thrust of the earlier Ukrainian D-18, which the new Russian big engine is intended to replace.

Some details of the PD-35 were given in an article dated 1st December 2015, which disclosed that the engine is being developed by the Perm based Aviagdivatel enterprise and that it draws on the technology of the civil PD-14 (the engine which powers Russia’s new MC-21 narrow body airliner) rather than of the NK-32.

It is, however, the 35-ton PD-35 that will become the baseline model for the new enlarge family of powerplants, says Igor Maximov, the PD family chief designer at the development and prouction plant Aviadvigatel. For that new powerplant, the core of the PD-14 will received an additional stage at the discharge of the high-pressure compressor. As a result, the total number of stages at the PD-35 compressor and turbine will be 9+2, and the high-pressure compressor intake diameter will be 815 mm, as compared to the PD-14’s 582 mm. The engine’s fan diameter will reportedly be 3,100 mm; the engine will be over 8 m long, and will weigh around 8 tons.

At least two more powerplants will be developed from the PD-35: the 28-ton PD-28 and the 24-ton PD-24. The larger two of the engine family will be offered for next-generation two- and four-engine widebodies, whereas the smallest one will be mounted on short-haul widebody airliners and a heavy military transport, says Aviadvigatel’s presentation.

One feasible application for the smallest of the powerplants would be the widebody airliner under joint development by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and China’s COMAC. The 280-seat aircraft, codenamed C929, is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2021 and enter service in 2025.

This same article from December 2015 however speaks of the PD-30 engine programme still continuing

Belousov notes that a similar powerplant program is being looked into at Samara-based Kuznetsov Company (also part of UEC), which is considering developing engines with up to 35 t thrust from the NK-32 turbojet engine currently powering Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers. According to Belousov, both companies are looking at the classic layout and the geared-turbofan possibility.

In their discussion on 23rd September 2017 Putin and Manturov made no mention of the PD-30.  Possibly following comparisons between the two engines a decision was made to discontinue the PD-30 so as to focus on the more advanced and more powerful PD-35.

Alternatively, since unlike the PD-30 (which has a five year start) development of the PD-35 is apparently still in its early design stages, with the engine not expected to enter production for at least a further six years, it may be that development of both engines is underway concurrently, with the less sophisticated and more conservative PD-30 intended for use as an interim engine until the more advanced and more powerful PD-35 becomes available in quantity after the mid 2020s.

The article about the PD-35 shows that not just one engine but a whole family of engines are being developed to complement the family of smaller engines being developed on the basis of the PD-14.  Apparently there will be three related engines: the base line 35 tonnes thrust PD-35 engine, and two smaller engines, the PD-28 and PD-24, of 28 and 24 tonnes thrust respectively.

The PD-24 is apparently intended for a “heavy military transport” (almost certainly this is the revived Ilyushin-106 project) as well as for various civil aircraft projects.

The bigger PD-28 is apparently also intended for various civil aircraft projects, but may also possibly be intended for use by a future replacement of the AN-124 heavy transport.

Here I will express my view that contrary to what is said in the article I think it unlikely that the Russians are planning any four engine civil widebodies beyond the IL-96-400, and that all future Russian civil aircraft projects including those being developed in collaboration with China – apart conceivably for a superheavy airliner (see below) – will be two engine designs.

There is no information of the use of the PD-35 in any planned aircraft, though the high priority given to the PD-35 engine project by Putin and Manturov shows that plans for such an aircraft undoubtedly exist.

Possibly it is intended for a big two engine long range intercontinental civil airliner along the lines of the Airbus A350 to replace the IL-96-400, which must be treated as a stop-gap until more modern aircraft become available.

Though I am not sure whether Russia needs a long range superheavy four engine civil aircraft in the class of Airbus A380, China might do so, and if so the PD-35 would also provide an engine sufficiently powerful for it.  It may even be demand from China for such an engine that is ultimately the driving force for the PD-35 project.

The PD-35 engine could also conceivably be used to power a superheavy transport to replace the AN-225, the sole example of which is now operated by Ukraine.

Unlike superheavy civil aircraft such as the Airbus A380, Russia arguably does need such a superheavy transport aircraft.  The AN-225 after all was designed by the Antonov bureau in the 1970s when Ukraine was part of the USSR to meet (Soviet) Russian needs.

Four PD-35 engines would provide sufficient power for such an aircraft, whilst providing a simpler and more elegant design solution than the complicated six engine arrangement used by the AN-225.

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Russia Lures International Arms Buyers With Half-Priced, More Effective Missile System

The Russian S-400 mobile long-range surface-to-air missile system costs around $500 million, vs. the $1 billion price tag for a US-made Raytheon Patriot Pac-2 battery.



Via Zerohedge

Russia has been pitching a rival missile platform that costs half of those made by US companies, reports CNBC, which has resulted in several countries dealing with the Kremlin “despite the potential for blowback.”

Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Russian S-400 mobile long-range surface-to-air missile system costs around $500 million, vs. the $1 billion price tag for a US-made Raytheon Patriot Pac-2 battery, while a THAAD battery made by Lockheed Martin costs just about $3 billion, according to people with first-hand knowledge of a US intelligence assessment.

Nearly 13 countries have expressed interest in buying Russia’s S-400, a move that could trigger potential U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which President Donald Trump signed in August 2017. In September, the U.S. slapped sanctions on China  for buying fighter jets and missiles from Russia. However, the U.S. could grant sanction waivers. –CNBC

Turkey, meanwhile, may be hit with US sanctions over their decision to purchase the S-400 defense system, which the United States says poses a risk to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

Meanwhile, India called the United States’ bluff over sanctions in late Ocotber, standing its ground in its decision to buy the S-400.

One of the reasons Russian systems are generally considered less expensive than their American counterparts is because they don’t include pricey ongoing maintenance.

“When foreign militaries buy American, above and beyond the purchase, they are buying a partnership with the U.S. military,” Andrew Hunter, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNBC. “And that plus the maintenance and technical assistance is a big part of the cost difference.

The S-400 system made its debut in 2007, succeeding the S-200 and S-300 missile systems. According to CNBC, “the Russian-made S-400 is capable of engaging a wider array of targets, at longer ranges and against multiple threats simultaneously,” vs. US-made systems.

In terms of capability, one source noted that while there is no perfect weapon, the S-400 eclipses even THAAD, America’s missile defense crown jewel.

When asked why nations seek to buy the S-400 instead of America’s Patriot or THAAD systems, one of the people with knowledge of the intelligence report explained that foreign militaries aren’t willing to stick with the cumbersome process of buying weapons from the U.S. government. –CNBC

“Many of these countries do not want to wait for U.S. regulatory hurdles,” said a CNBC source with first hand knowledge of the assessment. “The S-400 has less export restrictions and the Kremlin is willing to expedite sales by skipping over any regulatory hurdles.

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Britain’s Enemy Is Not Russia But It’s Own Ruling Class, UN Report Confirms

In austerity Britain, who the enemy is has never been more clear.

The Duran



Authored by John Wright. op-ed via

As the UK political establishment rips itself to pieces over Brexit, a far greater crisis continues to afflict millions of victims of Tory austerity…

A devastating UN report into poverty in the UK provides incontrovertible evidence that the enemy of the British people is the very ruling class that has gone out of its way these past few years to convince them it is Russia.

Professor Philip Alston, in his capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, spent two weeks touring the United Kingdom. He did so investigating the impact of eight years of one of the most extreme austerity programs among advanced G20 economies in response to the 2008 financial crash and subsequent global recession.

What he found was evidence of a systematic, wilful, concerted and brutal economic war unleashed by the country’s right-wing Tory establishment against the poorest and most vulnerable section of British society– upending the lives of millions of people who were not responsible for the aforementioned financial crash and recession but who have been forced to pay the price.

From the report’s introduction:

“It…seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty. This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in foodbanks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the Government to appoint a Minister for Suicide Prevention and civil society to report in depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation.”

Though as a citizen of the UK I respectfully beg to differ with the professor’s claim that such social and economic carnage seems “contrary to British values,” (on the contrary it is entirely in keeping with the values of the country’s Tory establishment, an establishment for whom the dehumanization of the poor and working class is central to its ideology), the point he makes about it being “obvious to anyone who opens their eyes,” is well made.

For it is now the case that in every town and city centre in Britain, it is impossible to walk in any direction for more than a minute before coming across homeless people begging in the street. And the fact that some 13,000 of them are former soldiers, casualties of the country’s various military adventures in recent years, undertaken in service to Washington, exposes the pious platitudes peddled by politicians and the government as reverence for the troops and their ‘sacrifice,’ as insincere garbage.

Overall, 14 million people in the UK are now living in poverty, a figure which translates into an entire fifth of the population. Four million of them are children, while, according to Professor Alston, 1.5 million people are destitute – that is, unable to afford the basic necessities of life.

And this is what the ruling class of the fifth largest economy in the world, a country that parades itself on the world stage as a pillar of democracy and human rights, considers progress.

The values responsible for creating such a grim social landscape are compatible with the 18th not 21st century. They are proof positive that the network of elite private schools – Eton, Harrow, Fettes College et al. – where those responsible for this human carnage are inculcated with the sense of entitlement and born to rule ethos that defines them, are Britain’s hotbeds of extremism.

Professor Alston:

“British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach apparently designed to instill discipline where it is least useful, to impose a rigid order on the lives of those least capable of coping with today’s world, and elevating the goal of enforcing blind compliance over a genuine concern to improve the well-being of those at the lowest levels of British society.”

Here, set out above in bold relief, is the barbarism that walks hand in hand with free market capitalism. It is the same barbarism that was responsible for pushing post-Soviet Russia into a decade-long economic and social abyss in the 1990s, and the values that have pushed 14 million people in the UK into the same economic and social abyss in our time.

Austerity, it bears emphasizing, is not and never has been a viable economic response to recession in a given economy.

Instead, it is an ideological club, wielded on behalf of the rich and big business to ensure that the price paid for said economic recession is borne exclusively by those least able to bear it – namely, the poor and working people. It is class war by any other name, packaged and presented as legitimate government policy.

However, in Britain’s case in 2018, this is a war like no other because, as Professor Philip Alston’s report lays bare, only one side in this war has been throwing all the punches and only one side has been taking them.

With Christmas season upon us, the scale of human suffering across the UK ensures that the elaborate ad campaigns inviting us to shop and indulge to our heart’s content – ads depicting the middle class dream of affluence and material comfort – take on the character of a provocation. In fact, they call to mind the truism that wars take place when the government tells you who the enemy is, while revolutions take place when you work it out for yourself.

In austerity Britain, who the enemy is has never been more clear.


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‘Iron’ Mike Pence Stares-Down Putin In APEC Showdown

Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton were seen shaking hands and chatting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Singapore.



Via Zerohedge

Forget the All-Blacks ‘Haka’, ignore Foreman-Frasier, Drago-Balboa, and Ortiz-Liddell, the honor of the greatest (or perhaps most awkward) staredown in history now goes to US Vice President Mike Pence…

Having been blamed for everything from Trump’s election victory to USA soccer team’s loss to England last week, Russia faced accusations all weekend and was reportedly confronted by the US contingent over “meddling.”

As The Sun reports, Pence and Putin “discussed the upcoming G20 Summit and touched on the issues that will be discussed when President Trump and President Putin are both in Argentina for the summit,” according to the vice president’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah.

An NBC reporter tweeted: “New per the @VP’s Office—> The VP’s office says Vice President Pence directly addressed Russian meddling in the 2016 election in a conversation with Vladimir Putin on Thursday in Singapore.

“The conversation took place following the plenary session this afternoon at ASEAN.”

But, it was the following clash of the titans that caught most people’s attention.

As the Russian president joined the that Pence shook Putin’s ‘deadly’ hand, met his ‘steely KGB-trained’ gaze, and desperately tried not to smile or blink for 20 seconds as Putin appeared to chat amicably with the US VP…

While Putin has (if his accusers are to be believed) grappled his opponents to death with his bare hands (remember he is a sinister KGB agent and jiu-jitsu expert); we suspect the only thing VP Pence has gripped tightly in his hands is his bible.

Sadly, John Bolton then blew the tough guy act (or is he Mike Pence’s ‘good cop’) as he does his best impression of a teenage girl meeting their popstar idol for the first time…

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