Incidents » Disasters, catastrophes
Author`s name Michael Simpson

Tu-160 Crashed Because of Poor Economic Situation in Aviation

Deputies think metallurgy is more attractive than aviation industry?
The reason of the air crash of Tu-160 named "Mikhail Gromov" (planes of this class are given names like ships) in Russia's Saratov region is not known yet. A special commission and experts are still working on the crash site. But some of the Duma deputies already make conjectures concerning the reason of the crash. According to Deputy Nikolay Kolomeitsev, this is perfectly obvious that the catastrophe of the strategic bomber is the evidence "of extremely complicated economic situation in the sphere."
This is the reason why the deputy initiated voting in the Duma on the subject of summoning the vice-premier who is mostly responsible for the air crash and for the financial situation for a special session in the parliament.  

In this situation the example of Vice-premier Ilya Klebanov comes to memory: this man who had never dealt with recovery of submarines was appointed the supervisor of the Kursk submarine recovery operation. Mr. Klebanov sounded rather unconvincing each time he spoke about the operation. This is an open secret that as a rule sunken submarines remain on the floor of the ocean. Certainly, a tragedy of the scale similar to the Kursk sub disaster on the eve of the parliamentary elections is a nice opportunity to openly criticize the government and make the elections a remarkable event.

This is highly advisable for members of the government to meet with Duma deputies but not at plenary sessions, but at sessions of the Duma profile committees that consider important budgetary problems and that make up legislation norms and further submit them for consideration at plenary sessions. This is exactly at sessions of the industrial committee that the situation in the defense establishment must be considered.

But deputies as a rule evince great interest in oil production, metallurgy or may be even agricultural machine building (like Deputy Nikolay Kolomeitsev). This is strange that deputies focus on the defense establishment on the eve of elections only. Indeed, lobbying of the interests of the defense establishment brings deputies no interest as it happens in the metallurgy for example where money involved is great enough.  This is the reason why events dedicated to Russia's metallurgy were held in Moscow last week with active participation of deputies; those were different activities and parties at the best restaurants of the capital. Nothing of this kind happens with Russia's defense establishment.

The situation strangely changes before elections when care about the defense establishment is treated as unselfish service to the fatherland. Deputy Nikolay Kolomeitsev says in his interview to the Russian newspaper Zavtra: "The aviation fleet is becoming irretrievably old. This is possible in Russia only that a son-in-law of the former president is given budgetary finance to purchase Boeings and A-300 planes."
The situation nowadays is such that almost all countries of the world buy Boeing and Airbus production because there is almost no adequate supply on the market. No matter what top managers of the Russian aviation industry say, Russia's Tu and Il planes won't be able to meet the world demand.

How was it possible that the present-day situation in the domestic aviation industry has influenced the catastrophe of the Tu-160 plane (the board number 01) that started service in the army in 1992? In fact, the plane was not that old as planes of this class can fly for decades, but the crashed one served just for a quarter of the guaranteed resource. Can this fact be connected with today's financial situation in the aviation industry? This should be mentioned here as well that it is Russia's Air Force that is responsible for the plane. Does Nikolay Kolomeitsev mean that the first after the launching air crash of the bomber (that is probably the world’s best one) has revealed some constructional defects for which the aviation industry is responsible?

As it is statistically proved, if Tu-160 planes were build in large batches and performed flights more often there would be more crashes of these planes. Catastrophes and air crashes occur where planes performed more flights; for this very reason the highest number of aviation crashes occurs in the US Air Force.

In the Soviet era when the Soviet aviation industry produced over 150 fighters per year and our pilots performed more flights, the Air Force losses during peace time made up about 2 aviation wings per year. However, none of the Supreme Council deputies had an idea to summon and reprimand those officials who were responsible for the aviation industry for the crashes.

Alexander Magidovich

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