Spark plugs for SaM146 engines produced in Russia last 10 times less than original ones

Photo by © Rostec press service

Two Russian airlines of those whose fleets operate SSJ100 aircraft, as well as interlocutors at aircraft manufacturers complained to the Vedomosti newspaper that the new Russian spark plugs for SaM146 engines last 10 times less than imported ones.

The French-Russian SaM146 engines, which are used in the Superjet 100 short-haul aircraft, used spark plugs from the American company Unison Industries with a service life of 1,000 hours. Now these engines are fitted with spark plugs from Ufa’s Molniya Research and Production Enterprise, which have a service life of only 100 hours, after which they need to be replaced.

Rossiya Airlines, which has the largest fleet of Superjets, plans to spend about 900 million rubles on spark plugs in 2024. The airline’s website says it has 78 Superjet 100 aircraft. Thus, it will need about 11.5 million rubles to buy candles for each board, Vedomosti’s editorial board calculated.

“The SaM146 engine ignition system is designed according to an atypical low-voltage scheme. The design of the original spark plug contains a unique volumetric semiconductor element, which had no analogues in the Russian Federation. Our specialists were able to eliminate this gap and offered their own design solution, which we can be proud of,” Rostec said.

Import substitution of spark plugs for SaM146 engines completed

They also explained to the journalist that in aviation it is normal to release a product to the market with a minimum service life. In the process of operation it is confirmed and gradually increased. This is a common practice. The interlocutor of the publication added that there are no doubts about the reliability of domestic candles, and the key point is that they work properly.

“In the first phase, to confirm the quality and reliability of the products, a shorter lifespan has been documented. After additional testing, it will be extended. At the moment, no facts of domestic candles failing have been recorded,” Rostec said.

The state corporation added that the import-substituted component costs much less than the American original. It is also necessary to take into account the instruments of state support for the industry provided by the Russian Government, under which the budget reimburses carriers 90% of the cost of parts.

However, the newspaper’s interlocutor from the airline said that the cost of each engine start has “increased many times over” – from several dollars to several dozens of dollars. Vedomosti did not explain why the interlocutor indicated the cost in foreign currency and not in rubles, while we are talking about a Russian product, which is paid for in rubles.