Yakovlev Design Bureau is one of the largest designers and producers of combat, commercial transport, and business aircraft in Russia. In the early 1990s Yakovlev teamed up with IAI (Israel) to design and manufacture the Yak-48 Astra-IV twin-turbofan business jet. Almost immediately after studies on two bizjet models /Yak-48 and Yak-77/ began, Yakovlev was approached by Israel Aircraft Industries /IAI/ which at that time was considering similar designs. The two companies decided to join efforts. They signed a general agreement in 1992, in which the sides determined their relations and divided the market. This agreement provided framework for the Galaxy development. Yakovlev would be responsible for overall design of the fuselage and wing for the Galaxy, which could also be used on the Yak-48. The Galaxy is in fact a Westernized version of the Yak-48 with Pratt & Whitney engines and Collins avionics. Under this agreement Yakovlev secured rights on its drawings as intellectual property and also that to sell Yak-48 inside CIS and certain countries in Asia and Middle East. The market for the Yak-48 was estimated at 200-250 units. However, economic difficulties in Russia by de-facto reduced Yakovlev's share in the Galaxy project to contractual work with IAI.
With the political and economic situation in Russia unstable in the mid-1990s, IAI decided not to order Galaxy production to Saratov as it had been proposed by Yakovlev. Instead, the production line was set up in Israel, with fuselage parts production performed in France. The Yak-48 project was cancelled.
The Yak-48 family of aircraft are intended for transportation from 30 up to 50 passengers at the distances 4700 - 2500 km correspondingly. The business version of aircraft can fly with 4 - 12 passengers at the distances 6800 - 6600 km. Yak-48 family aircraft have common airframe, equipment, and power plant. They differ in fuselage and passenger salon length and passenger equipment set. The level of comfort in passenger salons corresponds or surpasses the level of comfort in modern aircraft of that class.
Marketing studies performed by JSC A.S. Yakovlev Design Bureau and some western companies show that there is a great potential demand in aircraft of that class on all world airlines.
The basic power plant consists of two AI-22-2 engines with 3800 kg thrust each. A number of other foreign and Russian engines could be installed optionally. The aircraft are supposed to be equipped with Russian radio equipment and avionics. The western type avionics can be installed optionally to provide: landing minimum according to ICAO Category III conditions, phone and fax connection in flight through satellite communication.
The Yak-48 family aircraft with different passenger capacity, ranges of flight and basing conditions are developed on the basis of optimal combination of passengers' comfort and flying performance for flexible and successful promotion on market. The Yak-48 family aircraft are developed in compliance with AP-25 regulations and meet FAR-25 requirements. The aircraft certification is planned for 2007. The Yak-48 unified aircraft family provides: wide envelope of operational abilities and adaptation to different airlines requirements; optimal combination of fleet from regional and business aircraft to meet the airline requirements in terms of passenger capacity, flight ranges, avionics and basing conditions; aircraft modification for special missions (aerial photography, geological survey, air ambulance, patrol, trainer and etc.).
The aircraft design is developed in compliance with progressive maintenance methods and automatic diagnosis systems that provide aircraft operation and repair by state approach for: operational cost reducing (12 - 15%); application of flexible procedures of maintenance and repair adapted to foreign servicing infrastructure; reducing maintenance time intervals typical on level with best foreign aircraft of that class. The aircraft design and operational perfection provide life time equal to 60 000 flight hours at 10 - 12 flight hours per day schedule.
The many years the project was shelved were not spent in vain: this allowed the Ukrainian engine-maker ZMKB Progress to finish development of the AI-22 engine and put it to the test. This new power plant is intended for the Tu-324 50-seat jet, but it also suits well the Yak-48. Should the latter aircraft be re-launched, series engines would be ready in time for production aircraft.
The latest products developed at the Progress ZMKB are the small Ai-450 engine designed for the Kamov Ka-226 and Ka-228 helicopters as well as the AI-22 turbojet bypass engine for the Tupolev Tu-324 and Yakovlev Yak-48 executive aircraft. The AI-22 fan engine is designed to be installed on the prospective Tu-324 and Yak-48 aircraft models. It complies with the International Civil Aviation Organisation's every requirement for noise pollution and contaminants emission. KMPO has invested a considerable amount of its own funds in the making of the AI-22 and is set to roll out mass production. The design of the engine is stipulated by the Federal Target Programme for Civil Aviation Development until 2015, but the projects were suspended due to a lack of financing. The city of Zaporozhye-based Motor Sich and Kazan's Engine Building Production Association, KMPO, have jointly manufactured 6 prototypes of an AI-22 engine.
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