In the coming weeks, two Russian commercial planes will take their first flights, marking a new chapter in the country’s aerospace industry. Although not exactly new, the MC-21-310 jet and the Il-114-300 turboprop reincarnate Russia’s spirit in producing its aircraft independently.
he MC-21-310 is a variant of the aircraft with up to 211 seats with engines manufactured in Russia and replacing the turbofan PW1400G, from Pratt & Whitney. The turboprop is a modernization of the Il-114 and is being relaunched as a regional aircraft to serve the immense Russian territory.
During the visit of the Minister of Industry and Commerce of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov, on Friday, Irkut confirmed that the prototype with Aviadvigatel PD-14 engines will fly by the end of the year. The aircraft is currently undergoing final ground tests on fuel and power systems.
“Today we saw the MC-21-310, which will make its first flight with a PD-14 engine by the end of the year. Flight certification tests for the MC-21-300 aircraft continue. Our task is to obtain a Russian certificate by the end of next year. And so we expect validation according to European standards from the EASA agency,” said Manturov, referring to the version equipped with Western engines and which flew for the first time in 2017.
The MC-21 is a jet similar in size to the A320 that incorporates technological advances capable of making it more economical than older aircraft. UAC, the holding company that controls Irkut, had launched the model in an attempt to compete with Boeing and Airbus, but the tense relationship with the United States and some European countries threatens the supply of important components for the jet. Therefore, the company decided to develop a variant with local suppliers.
Il-114-300 will fly in the coming days
Before the MC-21-310 takes to the skies, another Russian aircraft will make its first flight. The Il-114-300 turboprop is in the final preparations to make its inaugural takeoff in the next few days, the TASS agency said. The information was also shared by Manturov during the visit to the city of Irkutsk, where Irkut’s facilities are located.
“The first aircraft is actually on the airfield and is preparing for the maiden flight. This will take place actually in days to come. The second airplane is close to completion. We meet the timeframe that was outlined. We expect to have first supplies to Russian airlines from 2023,” the Minister said.
Both depend, however, on support from the Russian government to secure orders. The country’s airlines are generally “invited” to lease these planes as a way to stimulate the aerospace industry. It is expected that in the case of the MC-21 its operational performance and economy will also be attractive in fact.