Russia took another step towards nationalizing the production of its new commercial jet, the MC-21. Developed by Irkut, a manufacturer that is part of the UAC, the plane has just had the first prototype completed using composite wings manufactured by AeroComposite.
The company, located in eastern Russia, took on the task of supplying composite material components for the project after the West enacted trade embargoes on the nation.
According to UAC, the MC-21-300 equipped with polymer composite materials was completed on November 29 and then transferred to Irkut’s flight testing division. The aircraft is expected to fly for the first time in December.
“The use of strong, lightweight composites allowed the designers to make the high aspect ratio wing and improve the aircraft’s aerodynamics while increasing the fuselage diameter. The assembly of the first commercial aircraft is a big step for the UAC and the entire Russian aviation industry. This is proof of the maturity of our aviation technologies and yet another victory over sanctions,” said Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov.
The MC-21 has 40% of its structure made in composites, which offer greater strength and lighter weight. The production of the wings, says UAC, uses vacuum infusion technology, which is a Russian patent.
The MC-21 is close to being certified by Russian civil aviation authorities. The aircraft, with a capacity of up to 211 seats, will enter service by Rossiya Airlines from the 3rd quarter of 2022.
The MC-21-300 version is equipped with PW1400 turbofans, supplied by Pratt & Whitney, but which will be replaced in the future by the PD-14 engine, developed in Russia. Rossiya, however, is expected to receive the first aircraft with US engines.