Russian aircraft manufacturer Irkut Corporation, under the wing of parent company United Aircraft Corporation, will soon have a new commercial jet that’s going to give existing big players’ medium range aircrafts a run for their money. The aircraft, dubbed MC-21, was officially unveiled back in June and marks a milestone in Russia’s aviation industry as the first medium-range passenger jet developed in Russian in this century. It has been a while indeed. Since the dissolution of Soviet Union, the country’s de facto flag carrier, Aeroflot, is mostly fleeted with western models. As of June 2016, Russian-made jets account for not more than 17 percent of Aeroflot’s fleet. But then again, that’s just Aeroflot and not accounting for other Russian airlines.
Touted as a direct competition to Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, the twin engined jet is powered by a choice of engines from Russia’s Aviadvigatel PD-14 or American company Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1400G – both which are specifically developed and adapted for this aircraft. Two aircraft models will be offered: a 200 and a 300 series, providing a passenger capacity of between 132 and 211. Highlights of this state-of-the-art modern day jetliner include increased fuselage diameter, and overall weight-saving – thanks to the extensive use of composite materials, aluminum alloys and titanium – which, together with high aerodynamic efficiency (high aspect ratio composite wing and whatnot), translates to fuel economy and maneuverability.
Add a range of 5,500-6,000 kilometers (3,400-3,700 miles), the MC-21 can go some 600 kilometers (370 miles) farther than similar class aircraft. Following the official rolling out, MC-21 is expected to commence flight tests later this year with full certification is anticipated to conclude in late 2017. The company aims to kick off production by 2020, where it will roll out 20 aircraft each year and bumping up to 70 units a year in 2023.
Images: Irkut Corporation.