Kuznetsov is the leading Russian company of production and repair of aircraft gas turbine engines, liquid-propellant rocket motors for Soyuz space launch from the R-7 family of rockets, drive gas compressor units and modular stations.
The company belongs to the group of companies United Engine Corporation (UEC), responsible for engines production for military and civil aviation and space exploration programs. UEC owns 90.22% of Kuznetsov’s fixed capital.
It employs 12 603 and is part of the country’s industrial strategic organizations. The company is the only one of the Russian defense industry with access to two key technologies of strategic importance:
- Soyuz launch vehicle manufacture for all Russian Federation space programs, including manned-space vehicles;
- Engine development, modernization, serial production, technical support and maintenance for military and Navy aircrafts (Tu-95MS, Tu-142, Tu-22M3, Tu-160)
In 2016, the space division accounted for 46.6% of the company’s sales. Serial production engines are sold in Argentina, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Along with the use of gas turbine engines in gas compressors units, Kuznetsov engines are increasingly used as electric drives in power plants. The demand for gas turbine engines is increasing as Gazprom plans to build 1350 gas-powered installations and gas pumping units worth 162 billion rubles by 2020. Gas turbine engines accounted for 10.3% of Kuznetsov sales in 2016.
Using RD-107, RD-108 engines modification, the company started Vostok, Voskhod and Soyuz type manned spacecraft projects, as well as projects for cargo vehicles and unmanned automated station that were launched to the moon, Mars and Venus for the Space Rocket Center Progress. Kuznetsov is actually the only SRC Progress supplier of engines of first and second launch vehicle stages.
The production and repair of engines for aviation of the Russian Air Force and the Russian Navy are the most important activities Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov is the main executor of the state defense order for the repair of engines for strategic aviation. Market indicators for aircraft gas turbine engines depend on the United Aircraft Corporation portfolio order.
Kuznetsov has the monopole in the segment of rocket engines production for launchers and gas turbine engines for strategic aviation, for the unique client Roscosmos (the Russian Space Agency).
There are 4 competitors in the gas pipelines drivers and gas pumping units segments in Russia:
- KMPO in Kazan
- NPO Saturn in Rybinsk
- UMPO in Ufa
- JSC „ODK-PM“ in the city of Perm
Kuznetsov direct and foreign competitors in CIS countries are exclusively located in Ukraine:
- Motor-Sich JSC Zaporozhye
- State Enterprise „Zorya-Mashproekt“ in Nikolaev
The decrease in revenue was mainly due to engines equipped with non-repairable pieces, which impacted the company’s revenue linked to maintenance activities. The company had to produce complete units to repairs aircrafts, which is way more resources consuming than producing spare parts and fixing machines.
The company’s net losses come from two reasons. The company paid back a more important part of its 2015 loans (about 504.6 million rubles) and increased its different provision for doubtful debts and warranty repairs for 1 585 million rubles.
The company takes part in public procurement within the framework of the Federal Law and the total amount of state contracts received by Kuznetsov accounted for 2 731 million rubles. The two clients Kuznetsov is supplying are the State customers United Engine Corporation (66%) with 1 802.3 million rubles orders, and Gazprom (33.3%) with 910.6 million rubles orders. The number of contracts might vary over the years, but the total value of orders keeps increasing (figure below).
In the coming years, most of Kuznetsov production for these two State customers will stay at the same levels, with rocket engines accounting for about 90% and industrial gas turbine engines for about 10%.
The company started its works on rocket engines in 1957 immediately after the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite. Liquid-propellant rocket engines RD-107, RD-108 and their modifications designed by Energomash have been produced for more than 50 years. Since then every single manned spaceship flights such as Vostok, Voskhod, Soyuz, Progress has been placed into orbit using launch vehicles with engines manufactured by Kuznetsov.
The company currently produces NK-33 engines. The previous models NK-31, NK-39, NK-43 modifications were developed for the four stages of the RKK Energia N-1-L-3 rocket. From the mid-nineties, various launch vehicles projects were developed using the NK-33 engine: Yamal, Avrora, Vozdushny start for example. Nowadays, there are two projects in development which will use NK-33 engines: the Russian Soyuz-2-1B and American Taurus 2.
Kuznetsov began its production of seven cylinders space engines in 1912. The engines produced evolved many times along with the development of domestic aviation. It has been the leading company for liquid-cooled engines production, later it launched a series of VK-1 turbojet engines and also produced engines for the civil aviation.
Kuznetsov began its production of seven cylinders space engines in 1912.
Now Kuznetsov provides repair and maintenance services for the Russian strategic aviation and is now rehabilitating its facilities for the serial production of the NK-632 engine for the Tu-160 strategic bomber.
Since the early 1970s Kuznetsov developed and produced aircraft gas turbine engines for the gas industry. The first domestic GTD NK-12ST with a capacity of 6.3 MW was designed in 1974 based on TVD NK-12MV turboprop. Nowadays, these engines are in operation in 117 compressor stations in the 852 gas pumping units GPA-TS-6, 3. In 1982 the company created a ground engine NK-16ST with a capacity of 16MW based on the NK-8-2U engine of the Tu-154 and Il-62 aircrafts. Until 1994, the company design 57 original and modified engines, including the NK-12, NK-4, NK-8, NK-22, NK-25, NK-144, NK-86, NK-88, NK-89, NK-321, NK-93 models. Most of the engines were developed in partnership with the Samara Design Bureau of Machine Building.
As Kuznetsov is one of the key companies of the Samara region, the company is concerned by the regional government priority to develop the industrial complex there. United Engine Corporation invested 10 billion rubles (155 million CHF) and will further invest 28 billion rubles (434 million CHF) in the next two years for Kuznetsov facility development and modernization. The general director of Roscosmos visited Kuznetsov facilities during past few months to discuss the production development perspectives and the future contracts between the two companies.
Kuznetsov has orders from SRC-Progress until 2027 as the United Engine Corporation projects involve Kuznetsov in the production of PD-14 and PD-35 engines, in the serial production of the second generation of NK-32 engines and in other large-scale projects.
Kuznetsov is expected to expand its production capacity by 250% by 2021.
Hence, the company is planning to install a design bureau as it will acquire a whole range of new competencies, along with a modern approach to management and placement of highly qualified employees, whose number will increase in the production facilities.
The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and United Engine Corporation expect Kuznetsov to expand its production capacity by 250% by 2021 as the Ministry of Defense will renew all the equipment and every engine of its TU-160 bomber aircrafts fleet by 2030.
Working with the large Russian space industry player is difficult. The secret services maintain a tight control on every employee and suppliers are subject to FSB licenses and regular checks. It is therefore very rare for foreign businesses to develop direct cooperation with these companies.
There are however other entry points to reach these big targets:
The Aerospace University: which regularly holds events and facilitates dialog between the scientists, industrial players and government officials. To some extent, the university can be used as a neutral discussion platform, a facilitator to promote new technologies or a scientific partner for joint developments, to be then integrated by Kuznetsov
The Engineering Cluster of Samara Region: which is in touch with almost every space company of the region, including Kuznetsov. The cluster is entitled to speak freely with the industrial representatives and when foreign solutions present real opportunities for the space giants, then the cluster can facilitate contacts and preliminary confirm commercial interests.
Tier suppliers: already working with the large companies such as Kuznetsov have licenses from FSB, good relationships with the engineers and technicians and can therefore be approached to introduce new technologies rapidly and effectively.