Russia to produce all-composite version of legacy An-2 biplane

The An-2 is a legacy Soviet biplane The TVS-2DTS will be manufactured by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant for a dedicated Yakutian airline (Leonid Faerberg /Transport-Photo.com)

The TVS-2DTS all-composite light multirole single-engine turboprop, a thoroughly upgraded version of the Soviet-designed Antonov An-2 biplane, will be produced serially by Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant (a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters, which is in turn a subsidiary of state-owned Rostec Corporation) starting from 2019.

A joint news release by Rostec and Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade reads that an agreement to the effect was signed by both parties, plus by the administrations of the republics of Buryatia and Yakutia and Russian Helicopters, at a recent investment forum in Sochi.

The aircraft, re-designed by Siberian Aviation Scientific Research Institute (SibNIA), will initially start flying on local routes within Siberia and Russia’s Far East. There are plans to set up a new operator for the type with the use of the resources offered by one of the existing Yakutian airlines. Polar Airlines is a likely candidate, as it has experience operating An-2s.

The plan is to produce at least 200 TVS-2DTS aircraft between 2021 and 2025, thus meeting the demand forregional air services. The government might decide to involve State Transport Leasing Company (GTLK) to simplify carriers’ access to theairframes.

The new biplane is still in testing. It made its debut at the 2017 MAKS exhibition outside Moscow, shortly after its first flight in the middle of last year. Back then Vladimir Barsuk, the director of SibNIA, told Russian Aviation Insider that, after the testing has been completed, the institute would pass the program and all pertaining documentation to a design bureau, which would become the aircraft’s “developer”. The certification program would only begin after the manufacturer had been selected, Barsuk added.

Later on, the institute launched negotiations with the Ulan-Ude plant over the TVS-2DTS assembly.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is seeking to financially support the R&D, certification, and series production of the TVS-2DTS. “The government is ready to provide subsidies to manufacturers of aircraft for local and regional air services, partially refunding their certification costs and pre-production efforts,” Minister Denis Manturov said. “There is 220 million rubles [$3.9 million] reserved in the federal budget for the purpose for 2018, and aadditional 230 million rubles each for 2019 and 2020. The new airline must create a route network in every region where it is present, and shall make sure it gets its return on investment. Apart from that, appropriate regulations governing the operation of light aircraft must be in place.”

The TVS-2DTS is equipped with modern avionics suitable for round-the-clock IFR operations. It can operate from unprepared runways.

It is expected to fly at a maximum airspeed of 350 km/h and cover up to 4,500 km. The payload is calculated at 3.5 tons.

The aircraft showcased at MAKS 2017 was powered by the Honeywell TPE331-12U turboprop engine. There are ongoing (albeit delayed) plans to assembe the powerplant in Russia.

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