The principal decision on relocation of production of military cargo airplanes IL-76 from Uzbekistan to Russia was not made. It is quite likely that they will be produced at the Tashkent aviation production association named after V. Chkalov (TAPOiCH) still. Two top-ranking Russian officials confirmed this indirectly. Thus, answering a question of WPS whether the final decision on relocation of assembling of this airplane to Ulianovsk was made General of the Army Alexei Moskovsky, commander of armament department and Deputy Defense Minister said that there was no such decision. He said, “I would not speak about certain relocation of production of IL-76 to Russia. The Ulianovsk aircraft building plant (Aviastar) simply develops tooling and production facilities for manufacture of these types of airplanes. Naturally, this process will last for some time and requires relatively big expenditures. As I know, all these expenditures are included in the relevant investment programs of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry and Ministry of Industry and Energy. However, this requires not only capital expenditures but a certain time for fulfillment time.”
Thus, most likely, the matter is about possible parallel assembling of the military cargo airplanes IL-76 and their modifications in Russia and Uzbekistan in the future. The fact that Moscow keeps considering TAPOiCH as a partner producing IL-76 is confirmed by the statement of Alexander Denisov, Senior Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military Industrial Cooperation and head of the Russian delegation at AirShow China 2006.
Answering the question about the situation regarding fulfillment of the contract on supply of IL-76 airplanes to China, Denisov said that “there are problems but they are being solved and the contract will be fulfilled by the deadline.” Of course, it will be fulfilled in Tashkent because there is simply no other production facility. Earlier, representatives of the Russian aircraft building industry announced that TAPOiCH was not observing the deadlines in fulfillment of the contract on supply of 38 military cargo airplanes IL-76 and aerial tankers IL-78 to China. The overall value of the contract signed by Rosoboroneksport with China amounts to about $1.5 billion. Due to non-observance of obligations by the Uzbek party persistent rumors appeared regarding an intention to relocate production of IL airplanes from Tashkent to Ulianovsk. Now it seems that Moscow gives this decision up.
Russian and Uzbek leaders evidently drew the relevant conclusions. First of all, these conclusions deal with solving the personnel problems. A large group of Russian specialists busy with fulfillment of the Chinese order is currently working at TAPOiCH. Besides, Uzbek President Islam Karimov who had worked at TAPOiCH when he was young replaced director of this company. He sacked former director Vadim Kucherov who had had this post since 1995. Instead of him Karimov appointed Utkir Sultanov, one of the influential people from his entourage and advisor to the Prime Minister. In the past, Sultanov had the post of Deputy Prime Minister and curator of machine building, metallurgy, and oil and gas sector, extraction of mineral resources, electric energy sector, chemical industry and relations with the Russian military industrial complex. Between 1995 and 2003, Sultanov was Prime Minister of Uzbekistan. He is a good industrialist and is evidently capable of fulfillment of the contract for production of IL-76 airplanes for China.
However, this appointment evidently does not solve all the problems related to TAPOiCH. Most likely, to stay afloat the Uzbek company should be integrated into United Aircraft Building Corporation (OAK) being established in Russia. Both Moscow and Tashkent have such plans. The matter is about the price at which TAPOiCH will be privatized. The parties obviously cannot reach an agreement on this yet.