After the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian aerospace industry found itself in an existential dilemma. If before, it divided into several dedicated project bureaus and manufacturing units with no direct link to them, in a capitalist world these entities would need to adapt to a new reality.
Some famous names like Sukhoi quickly adapted to the commercial environment while others lost notoriety. With dozens of companies of varying sizes and financial status, chaos reigned for a few years until the Russian government decided to create the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in 2006.
The new company’s mission was to organize the immense aerospace sector and provide conditions for the main companies to prosper. Under the UAC are names like the MiG, Tupolev, Ilyushin, Yakovlev and Beriev, who named hundreds of aircraft during communism.
All of them, however, were disembodied ‘brains’ as the manufacturing structure was independent of the project area. These factories also turned into companies such as KnAAPO, Aviastar and VASO.
Despite having managed to give a more integrated aspect to so many projects, UAC still seeks to achieve the ultimate goal, to become an aerospace giant. To do so, the state-owned company is implementing a consolidation process that is unique in the world.
From companies to divisions
UAC recently announced that major companies will be transformed into more integrated, internal divisions.
In March, for example, the holding company revealed that design bureaus MiG, Sukhoi, Tupolev, Ilyushin and Irkut would be unified into a single design center.
A few days ago, it was UAC’s turn to announce that the companies Aviastar-SP JSC, VASO PJSC and EMZ im. V.M. Myasishchev will become internal divisions of PJSC Il.
“The consolidation of the companies of the transport aviation division will bring significant managerial and economic results,” said Sergei Yarkovoy, First Deputy General Director of PJSC UAC, Managing Director of PJSC Il.
Reorganization into a single company will make it possible to more efficiently build the aircraft program management process. At the same time, the main directions of design and production activities of the merged enterprises, their traditional competencies, as well as social guarantees for employees will be preserved.”
Until recently, UAC had divided these companies into large groups led by Sukhoi, Irkut, Ilyushin, RAC MiG and Tupolev. In this structure, the assembly lines started to be linked to these leading companies, but even so the overlapping of tasks persisted.
Irkut, for example, produced MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets while developing the MC-21 passenger jet. Ilyushin, in turn, in addition to producing its transport planes at Aviastar, is responsible for partnering with COMAC on the CR929 widebody project. Sukhoi, best known for its operations in the defense area, developed the SSJ100 regional jet.
It seems that within a few years many of the long-known names will give way to a stronger brand, a process that other nations like the United Kingdom and the United States have gone through for quite some time.