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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Russia to Begin Producing Naval Engines

As part of Russia's import substitution program, the country aims to put into testing replacement gas turbine engines for its naval vessels. These, unlike engines purchased in past years, are to be fully constructed locally.

During a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to a Saturn research and production workshop, United Engine-Making Corporation CEO Viktor Polyakov said that "the problem of dependence on Ukrainian engines" had been resolved.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was quoted by Tass News Agency as saying, "Up until now, all shipborne gas turbine engines were assembled only in Ukraine, in Nikolayev. Today is the day of the actual launch of a new sector, shipborne engine-making."

Russia and Ukraine in the past maintained close cooperation in terms of military production. Many Russian naval programs, including ongoing programs, included Ukrainian-made gas turbine engines in their designs. However, after relations between the two countries broke down in 2014, the cooperation was ended, leaving some Russian vessels under construction without engines.

Several Russian naval programs, in particular, were deeply affected.

Three Project 11356M frigates, two of which were already under construction, were left without engines, prompting Moscow to seek to export the vessels. Russia and India reached an agreement on the sale of the two ships, plus local production in India of two more. While the first two Project 22350 frigates had already received Ukrainian engines before cooperation was ended, subsequent ships were left without engines.

In light of the loss of access to Ukrainian engines, Russia has emphasized a import-substitution effort aimed to make its own alternatives of various sizes, which are now being putting into testing.

The introduction of a Russian-made gas turbine engine will be important for the Navy, given that access to foreign gas turbine engines is likely to remain restricted for the coming years and Moscow wants to reduce dependency on foreign-manufactured components. Russia wants to make the Project 22350 frigates, in particular, the mainstay of its Navy, meaning that a Russian-made engine is a key priority.

In reference to the Project 22350 frigates, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated earlier this month, "Such multi-purpose frigates equipped with long-range precision weapons should become the Navy’s main combat ships in the near future."

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