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ERA 2010: PowerJet ramping up for SaM 146 serial production

PowerJet is working to ramp up production activities of the SaM 146 engine for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and plans to deliver 12 engines by year end, according to CEO Jean-Paul Ebanga.

The enginemaker plans to deliver somewhere between 30 and 50 engines during 2011. “We’ll also produce some spare engines, because with the beginning of the commercial service, we need to have some in case of problems or accidents,” Ebanga noted. “Actually there are two further uses for spare engines – first, to build up the lease pool, and second, each operator needs to have some spares, either a full spare engine or spare parts (for example, if the engine gets foriegn object damage).

Since the Farnborough Air Show in July, the engine has achieved certification by the Russian authorities, to follow that already awarded by EASA. “Normally you have a reference authority and get validation in other countries, but this engine has complete certification in both the EU and Russia,” explained Ebanga.

Having successfully completed the design phase with certification, and now heading into serial production, Ebanga said the third phase is the build up of customer support so that it is ready for the SSJ100’s entry into service.

“There are three levels where customer support has been built into the system. The first comes from the design phase where support and maintenance needs were given full consideration, which is why the engine has fewer parts than previous engines,” Ebanga continued. “That’s been helped by the use of certain technology, such as the blisk where instead of blades slotting into the disk, we chose to create the blades and disk from one piece of machined metal for the compressor stage. The parts count reduction versus previous similar engines is approximately 20%. For example, the CF34 has nine stages in the compressor, the SaM146 has six stages.

“The second level of activities concerns the customer support infrastructure: the customer centre; the back office for quick reaction using all the engineering knowledge of the company; the network of field representatives which relies on existing Snecma and Saturn networks – there are 80 FRs already out there including the launch customers Aeroflot and Armavia which already have FRs on site; the distribution centres for spare parts, one already existing in Villaroche with the second to be in Moscow under the responsibility of Saturn; and finally training centres, again with one in Villaroche and then the one which Saturn has just completed building in Rybinsk.

“The third level is customer support agreements (CSA): how spares will be distributed and training done plus the service offering,” Ebanga added. “We took into account that regionals are not the same as airlines in the narrowbody market. So our basic offering is full service, including power-by-the-hour-type, on-condition maintenance. We’ve signed a CSA with Armavia at Le Bourget 2009, added Kartika at Farnborough and are working on the CSA for Aeroflot.”

Ebanga rounded off his briefing with a comment which he believes how far the SaM 146/SSJ100 programme has come. “We need to remember where we came from: in 2000-03 we talked about working with Saturn to develop this engine and there were a lot of sceptical faces, but we did it. In addition to it leading to FAA certification, the order from Willis Lease Finance is very significant, because who would have thought ten years ago that an American company would be buying aircraft from Sukhoi?”

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net

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