Russian VSMPO-Avisma, a supplier of titanium to Airbus and other European aircraft manufacturers, has been placed on a U.S. export restrictions list.
VSMPO-Avisma is the world’s largest supplier of titanium, with 25% of the company owned by the state defense conglomerate Rostec.
Almost three dozen legal entities from Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Germany, Oman, and Pakistan have been added to this list due to alleged actions against the interests of national security and U.S. foreign policy. This information was reported by the Bureau of Industry and Security of the U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday.
As a result, any export transactions involving these companies now require separate licenses from U.S. authorities, and the decisions regarding these licenses are made by a committee that includes representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, the State Department, the Ministry of Defense, the Department of Energy, and, when necessary, the U.S. Treasury Department.
Being listed doesn't guarantee sanctions. Last year, the EU, via the Ministry of Finance and the SDN List, deliberated but did not impose sanctions due to the EU aircraft sector's heavy reliance on Russian titanium. VSMPO-Avisma is being accused of directly supplying titanium and titanium products to the Russian defense industry, categorizing it as a “military end user.”
Military products made of titanium include aircraft components (airframes, engine parts), ballistic armor, missiles, submarines (hulls), naval vessel components, satellite parts, drones, small arms components, medical devices (prosthetics, implants), and nuclear submarine reactor components. Titanium's lightweight, corrosion-resistant properties make it valuable for enhancing performance and durability in various military applications.
Boeing Halts Russian Titanium Purchases, Airbus Continues
VSMPO-AVISMA reportedly provides a third of Boeing’s requirements of titanium. It is also the largest titanium supplier for Boeing commercial production. Titanium parts from VSMPO-AVISMA are used on Boeing 737, 767, 787, 777 and 777X airplanes.
However, Boeing said it has halted titanium purchases from Russia, citing sufficient inventory. This decision has drawn criticism from VSMPO-AVISMA's leadership, as Boeing had just renewed the contract at the Dubai Airshow, reaffirming the Russian company as its primary titanium supplier. Both companies had also committed to expanding their joint venture, Ural Boeing Manufacturing, located in Russia's Titanium Valley in the Urals.
Airbus, dependent on Russia for half its titanium, still sources from Russia and elsewhere. VSMPO-AVISMA is a key supplier, while Hydromash provides landing gear parts. Airbus, in its 2019 report, noted reliance on Russian titanium for NH90 and Tiger military helicopters, as well as overall jet production capacity, hinging on raw materials like titanium.