New patrol aircraft for Russian Arctic
The Russian Ministry of Defence is planning the acquisition of a new aircraft suited for patrol missions in the Arctic.
A major number of Iluyushin-38 are about to be taken out of service and the Russian Defence Ministry now looks for a replacement, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports.
A source in the ministry confirms to the newspaper that a tender on the deliveries of new aircrafts suited for long-range patrols in the Arctic will be held. It is not clear when the tender will be officially announced.
According to NG, several aircrafts could, with necessary upgrades and modifications, be alternatives. Among them is the Il-38SD, a modernized version of the Il-38, as well as the Tu-214, which is a modified version of the Tu-204 passenger plane. An alternative is reportedly also the Beriev A-40 Albatros, the jet-engined amphibious flying boat.
Another strong contended will reportedly be a modified version of the Superjet-100, the passenger aircraft built by Sukhoi. After the recent tragic crash in Indonesia, Sukhoi will face serious problems with selling its new jet in the international market and might look for alternatives. Being a leading company in the United Aircraft Construction Corporation, a state-controlled entity, Sukhoi might try to lobby the qualities of the Superjet in Arctic conditions.
As previously reported, Russia is currently in the process of modernizing a number of Arctic airports, among them at the Novaya Zemlya and in Naryan-Mar. The country is also enhancing emergency preparedness in the Arctic by deploying more helicopters and aircrafts at its northernmost airports. The aircrafts will work with the ten new emergency and rescue centers to be established along the Northern Sea Route.