July 11, 2012
FARNBOROUGH-Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) is conducting an initial study into the possible development of a 130- to 140-seat aircraft.
According to UAC CEO Mikhail Pogosyan, such an aircraft would feature a composite wing and other advanced technical features, but he says it is too soon to detail a precise timetable for the project.
The aircraft would fill the gap in between the 100-seat Superjet 100 and the planned Irkut MS-21, which will offer 150-200 seats
Pogosyan, speaking at the Farnborough air show, tells Aviation Week that UAC initially is looking at offering a high-density seating configuration of the SSJ100 that would enable airlines to carry up to 108 passengers. The next step will be a stretched version of the aircraft that would likely be in the 120-seat range in a typical layout.
Sukhoi, a UAC-subsidiary, is already working on an extended-range version of the SSJ100 and a corporate jet variant.
Any further product development of the Superjet and the possible launch of the 130-seat jet will depend on the future sales success of the current SSJ100, Pogosyan says. He adds that more detailed studies will be conducted within the next year.
This SSJ aircraft would compete in a crowded market. Bombardier plans to deliver its first 110-seat CSeries CS100 by the end of next year, followed by the CS300, which can seat up to 149 passengers in a single-class configuration. In the 140-seat category, the emerging Russian project also would compete with the Airbus A319NEO and the Boeing 737-7 MAX. But Pogosyan says that “the commercial market is evolving, and we see a niche for UAC.”
Initially, the main goal is to ramp up civil aircraft production and advancing development of the MS-21. Also, Pogosyan notes that UAC integration has to continue to make the group more efficient. The company plans to create centers of excellence that work across programs.
The various plants will then be responsible only for final assembly of the aircraft. The transition to centers of excellence “will come with the growth of civil production.”