Manufacture of the initial MS-21-300 version is planned to begin in 2013, with first flight planned for 2015 and first deliveries in 2017. Production will be divided between Ulyanovsk and Irkutsk; the initial aircraft will be built at Aviastar in Ulyanovsk.
Irkut President Alexei Federov says the company has commitments for 261 aircraft, including 185 firm orders, 150 of which are to be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G geared turbofan. The other 35 are to be powered by Russian manufacturer United Engine’s PD-14 turbofan. The MS-21 is being designed to offer a lower operating cost than foreign competitors, says Yuri Slyusar, Russia’s deputy minister for industry and trade.
The target set for Pratt & Whitney is to lower engine operating costs by 20%, says Bob Saia, vice president for the next-generation product family. The geared turbofan will improve fuel efficiency by over 15%, he says.
The first ground run of the PD 14 turbofan was conducted June 10, says Andrey Reus, general director of Oboronprom, the holding company for United Engine.
The two-shaft engine has a 1.9-meter-dia. (75-in.) fan and a bypass ratio of 8.5:1. United Engine is reporting a 12-16% reduction on cruise specific fuel consumption compared with currently certificated engines. Composites comprise 30% of the aircraft.
Western suppliers are developing other systems in addition to the engines. Zodiac is responsible for the interior and electrical, fuel, oxygen and inert-gas systems. FACC will build wing leading edges, cowlings, flaps and fuselage fairings and will make a prototype of the center wing box.
As a next step following the MS 21, UAC is looking at the widebody segment. It is “analyzing a possible partnership” with Chinese aircraft manufacturer Comac. “We are thinking of critical technologies that we need to have for such an aircraft,” says Pogosyan.
China has tentative plans to develop a new widebody dubbed the C929, but there appears to be no fixed timeline for development or launch, given that Comac is busy with the C919 narrowbody program. Like China, Russia has talked about reviving the full range of passenger aircraft, including widebodies in the longer term. Comac and UAC once discussed cooperation in the narrowbody market but could not come to an agreement, which led to the launch of the two competing programs.
As part of an intergovernmental agreement, UAC subsidiary Ilyushin is to provide China with technical design data for the four-engine Il-96 widebody, which was designed in Soviet times and first flew in 1988.
But Pogosyan stresses that “we can definitely say that the Il-96 will not be the basis for a new widebody.” He says a new aircraft of this type would have to include technologies such as an open avionics architecture, be more electrical and feature composite wings. “We are evaluating with the Chinese the feasibility of such a product, but it is still preliminary,” he says.