The D-18T engine, which is used as a propulsion system on the An-124-100 heavy transport aircraft, is at the stage of completion of deep modernisation, its spare parts are fully produced in Russia. A source close to military transport aviation told TASS.
The D-18T engine develops a thrust of 23,400 kgf, it was developed in Zaporozhye by the Progress design bureau and manufactured there at the Motor-Sich plant. To date, Russia does not have an engine with a thrust of 23-25 tonnes. The PS-90A develops a thrust of 16,000 kgf, while the promising PD-35 is at the stage of testing a gas generator and manufacturing an engine-demonstrator.
In July 2020, then Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said in an interview with Interfax that the industry had mastered the repair of D-18T engines, and the first repaired engines had already been received. It was planned to reach the ability to repair at least 12 engines per year.
On October 11, 2023, during the inspection by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu of the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk, Lieutenant General Vladimir Benediktov, commander of military transport aviation, reported to the minister that the Russian high thrust engine PD-35 or D-18T could be installed on promising models of heavy transport aircraft and upgraded An-124-100.
At a meeting held by the defence minister at Aviastar, the need to double the fleet of An-124 aircraft by 2025 was mentioned. “Due to the fact that we now also have engines, we have the capabilities and capacity to modernise these aircraft. We need to double them by 2025,” the head of the Russian military department said.
A TASS source told the agency that a deep modernisation of the D-18T is now being completed, which will result in a new engine, with all spare parts being manufactured by the Russian industry. “Both engines will be Russian, and on a competitive basis the best of them will be chosen,” he clarified when asked which option – PD-35 or D-18T is more prioritised.