UAC, the holding company that controls the most important aeronautical manufacturers in Russia, announced on Tuesday that the MC-21 passenger jet had a new test aircraft equipped with PD-14 engines, produced by Aviadvigatel.
The aircraft has so far used PW1400G turbofans made in the USA by Pratt & Whitney, however, the Trump administration’s constant retaliation motivated Russia to implement a component nationalization program.
“Only a few countries in the world are capable of creating aviation equipment of this level. The upcoming tests of the MC-21 with domestic engines are a landmark event for the industry, a clear confirmation that the domestic civil aircraft industry has a future,” said Anatoly Serdyukov, industrial director of the Rostec aviation cluster, part of the UAC group.
The MC-21-300 is developed by Irkut and will be able to carry between 163 and 211 passengers over a distance of 6,000 km. The first flight of the single-corridor aircraft took place in May 2017 and since then three other prototypes have joined the certification program, all equipped with the PW 1400, an engine that is also used by the A320neo.
Change of plans
When it was conceived, the MC-21 followed the same strategy as the Sukhoi SuperJet 100 (SSJ100), of expanding the participation of Western companies in its project so that the aircraft could be exported.
However, the SSJ100 has proved to be a sales failure, only used in large part by Russian airlines. With the deterioration of US and European relations with Russia, Vladimir Putin determined that these programs should invest in replacing foreign suppliers with local companies.
The MC-21 should be certified in Russia next year and have the first deliveries to Aeroflot by the end of 2021. According to Irkut, the jet has operating costs 15% lower than the A320 and 737 models. The aircraft has 175 orders, most of them from Russian companies.