As we have already told, this week in Italy was arrested the director of business development of the United Engine Building Corporation (JDC) Alexander Korshunov, whom the U.S. is trying to accuse of industrial espionage. Specifically – in the theft of the secrets of the engines of General Electric, on which fly Boeing airliners. The U.S. is demanding the extradition of Rostec’s top manager.
This is the second time in the history of modern Russia when American intelligence agencies are trying to obtain this important information about their potential adversary.
The first was 15 years ago when former Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov was arrested in Switzerland at the request of the United States, accused of embezzling American money. It is quite clear that once in the U.S., he would be faced with a choice – to rot in prison, receiving a serious term of imprisonment, or to make a deal with the investigation and share with Washington classified information. And in the Ministry of Atomic Energy, there is more than enough.
The situation was so critical that he offered to steal Adamov. And if it does not work – eliminate.
Fortunately, Adamov did not have to be killed. Switzerland returned Adamov to Russia, where a criminal case was opened against the ex-minister.
Of course, Korshunov is not so competent in state secrets. However, he seems to have sufficient military secrets and serious ones. Because the JDC creates engines not only for civilian airliners but also for fighter jets, bombers, a wide range of missiles, including intercontinental, warships. All this applies to the defense-industrial complex, the activity of which is disclosed in minimal volumes. At the same time, American designers have something to profit from in the JDC and in the field of engine creation for civil aviation.
What exactly “military secrets” could steal from the “general electricians” Korshunov? And was he going to need it?
To do this, at least in general terms, it is necessary to learn what is a turbofan engine (TVRD), what its advantages and on which aircraft it is rational to use.
TVRD is also called a turbojet twin-engine engine (TRDD). In general terms, it is a conventional turbojet engine (TRD), placed, conventionally speaking, in a pipe of a larger diameter.
The problem is that during its operation, much of the combustion energy is spent not on the creation of traction, but on the maintenance of the engine, that is, on the rotation of the turbine and compressors.
In TVRD, the turbojet engine is soo-placed, conventionally speaking, in a “pipe-skin.” At the entrance of the TVRD, there is a suction fan, the diameter of which is equal to the diameter of the “pipe.” The fan, which rotates by rotating the TRD turbine, drives the air along with two circuits – on the inside and on the outer. The movement of air along the outer circuit also creates a jet thrust at the output.
And it is the external thrust that is the main driver. The ratio of external flow to internal airflow is defined as a two-contour factor. The higher it is, the higher the engine efficiency. And, accordingly, the more economical the fuel is used.
Well, quite schematically TVRD – a large barrel with a diameter of up to 3 meters, narrowing from behind a nozzle. Inside this barrel is a turbojet engine rotating the fan in front of the barrel. And the flow of air between the TRD and the barrel walls creates the main reactive thrust.
The introduction of the outer contour required the complexity of the internal circuit, i.e. TRD. It installs a second low-pressure turbine, which is on the same shaft with the fan, that is, there is a second shaft. And in some TVDs, a three-personal circuit with a medium-pressure compressor is also used to improve engine efficiency.
A gearbox can be entered between the low-pressure turbine and the fan. This reduces fan turnover.
And now – attention!
The Americans allege that Korshunov in 2013-2014 received through an Italian “accomplice” secret information about the design of the gearbox, which is used by the American company General Electric to produce its own turbofan engines.
However, among the world leaders of the engine industry, only one company – Pratt and Whitney, also American, in the designs of their TVRd uses gearboxes. Everyone else does without them. Actually, this is a global trend of gradual abandonment of gearboxes. They certainly have merits, but the drawbacks outweigh. These include the technological complexity of implementation, excess weight, reduction of the inter-repair period, additional heating of the structure, more, albeit not much, fuel consumption.
GE doesn’t have gearboxes. So if Korshunov and supplied about them any information, it was, as they say in certain circles, pure wiring.
And now the most interesting thing in this story is the evidence of how competent the FBI is, which actively connected to the “catch of a Russian spy”. Korshunov’s charges incorporate snare say that he criminally obtained information about the gearbox in order to use it in the construction of the Russian PD-14 engine.
But there is no gearbox in the PD-14. And, therefore, Korshunov did not have to risk to get what no one needs in the JDC. And you didn’t have to spend the money. And every spy has to spend money. At least to bribe informants. This used to be, much earlier, when the communist idea was strong, Western specialists could cooperate – and cooperate! So all the charges of commercial espionage brought against Korshunov are made with white threads.
The PD-14 is ready. He went through the entire test cycle. And two engines of the company “ODK-Perm motors” have already transferred to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant for installation on the medium-haul passenger aircraft MS-21. All the characteristics of the engine confirmed. And many of them surpass the performance of the world’s best TVRD engines of the same class. Thus, the specific fuel consumption is lower by 10-15%. Less and operating costs – by 14-17%. Below is the price. As a result, the PD-14 could become a serious competitor in the foreign market for the big three engines – General Electric, Pratt and Whitney and Rolls-Royce.
The question is, will Perm Motors have enough capacity for this?