News from Russia today must be music to the corporate ears at UAC. After the recent tragic crash on Christmas day, we were not alone in thinking the Russian Air Force’s fleet of TU-154s were a cause for concern. The Defense Ministry and UAC are in talks.
The challenge as explained in the link above is that only some 20 aircraft need to be replaced. These aircraft need to make use of military airports that do not always have long, paved and clean runways. Take a look at this as an example. As suggested, these requirements might limit use of the SSJ100 which otherwise would be a natural place to start. Even the older, but readily available TU-214 likely will also be constrained by some military airports.
Since the options are few, it seems that the Russian government will have to end up deploying a mix of the TU-214 and SSJ. There is simply no other solution that UAC can offer. And any option that is not a 100% Russian solution is off the table as a solution. For serving military airports that don’t offer optimal runways, it is possible that a handful of TU-154s might be kept in service until a better solution comes along. Meanwhile the MC-21 beckons as a future solution to replace the TU-14s. UAC should be able to turn this opportunity into a useful sale for both near and medium terms.