First MC-21 test aircraft about to replace PW engines for PD-14

Irkut jetliner prototype undergoes conversion to fly with Russian turbofans

Determined to obtain certification for the MC-21-310 passenger jet, Russia is completing the replacement of Pratt & Whitney’s PW 1400G engines with the local PD-14 turbofan, the UAC said last week.

The conversion is being carried out on the 73051 aircraft, which is the first prototype of the single-aisle model. The work is carried out at Yakovlev’s facilities in Irkutsk.

Originally, the MC-21-300 would be the standard production version, but the embargoes enacted by Western countries years before the Russian invasion of Ukraine had already caused the UAC to release a version with local content..

A test aircraft, prototype number 5, flew in 2020 with the PD-14 engine, developed by Aviadvigatel. With the current conflict, however, commercial retaliation has worsened, forcing Russia to accelerate the aircraft’s nationalization program.

With no expectation of relying on US-made engines, UAC reconfigured prototype number 1. The MC-21 is expected to perform three to five flights in Irkutsk before Zhukovsky is taken.

To obtain Russian type certification, the MC-21-310 needs to complete 240 flights. By the beginning of July, the 73055 plane had reached 100 flights.

MC-21-310 test aircraft with PD-14 turbofans(UAC)

The MC-21-300 first flew in May 2017 and along with three other prototypes completed certification flights with Western engines and avionics in December 2021. However, work was halted in favor of the 310 version.

The conversion task is more complex since it is necessary to replace the cable system and internal connections, as they are not the same used by the Pratt & Whitney turbofan.

Russia wants to put the MC-21 into service from 2024.