Upsetting United States' sanctions regime, Russia’s Irkut Corporation has completed the construction of an MC-21-310 prototype for flight with a locally-made PD-14 engines.
The domestic engines will replace Pratt & Whitney (P & W) engines whose supply was halted by the Trump administration invoking sanctions against Russian defence entities.
On November 6, the aircraft was transferred from the final assembly shop to the flight test division of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant owned by Irkut Corporation which is a part of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
In preparation for the first flight, specialists will check the aircraft systems, work out the ground launch of the power plant, test the aircraft and engines while moving around the airfield at various speeds, UAC announced Tuesday.
The designation of the PD-14 engine equipped aircraft has been changed from MC-21-300 to MC-21-310 signifying a significant change from the earlier P & W engine-equipped aircraft. Major changes include a locally-made composite wing and several electronic components and systems sourced from local firms.
Russian industry sources had earlier told local media that not just US firms, but also MC-21 partners in Europe had shied away from contractual obligations to supply parts and systems to the Russian-made jet.
Unveiled in 2016, the MC-21-300’s was intended for rapid delivery to the airline industry in Russia. First customer handovers were intended for 2018. However, subsequent sanctions and stoppage of parts and sub-system deliveries delayed the program by over 2 years.
It may take a further 2-3 years after the MC-21-310 undergoes first flight for the jet to be handed over to potential customers. Some 76 aircraft have been ordered by airlines in Russia and CIS countries.
“Only a few countries in the world are capable of creating aviation equipment of this level. The upcoming tests of the MS-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.
The PD-14 engine developed by Perm Motors was certified in 2018. It will be the first fully Russian turbofan engine for civil aviation since the 1980s.