Russia is racing against the clock to put a genuinely domestic airliner into production. After receiving Western sanctions due to military actions in Crimea and Ukraine, the country accelerated projects to convert more modern aircraft to be equipped only with indigenuos components.
On the list of aircraft currently under development is the SSJ-New, a new version of the Superjet, a 100-passenger regional jet produced by Irkut, part of the UAC group.
Originally conceived in partnership with several western companies, the SSJ100, as it is also called, has been experiencing serious difficulties flying on Russian airlines after all its engine, the SaM-146, is a product made with the help of Safran, from France.
Avionics, also supplied by US and European manufacturers, is a source of maintenance problems, among other items such as landing gear and the APU.
As a result, the SSJ-New has been one of the short-term solutions to provide Russian commercial aviation with a commercial aircraft with genuinely national content.
UAC’s plans are quite optimistic and foresee the maiden flight of a prototype in 2023 and entry into service in 2024.
Wind tunnel tests
For this purpose, the companies involved have accelerated the work, as with the wind tunnel tests of the PD-8 engine nacelle, which will replace the SaM-146 turbofan.
TsAGI, the Russian aerohydrodynamics institute, is carrying out this activity, which involves assessing the changes that the new engine may generate in the SSJ-New’s flight.
According to the institute, tests are also carried out to define the ideal installation angles for vortex generators in the nacelles.
“This is an important milestone in the flight tests of the SSJ-NEW aircraft, which we expect to begin as early as next year. The high aerodynamic properties of the Russian-powered SSJ-NEW have been confirmed, and after testing a prototype engine at the Il-76 flying laboratory, we will be ready, together with our UEC colleagues, to start work on integrating the new turbofan into the aircraft,” said UAC Deputy Director General for Civil Aviation Andrey Boginsky.
In parallel, the FAA Institute GosNIIAS (FAA State Research Institute of Aviation Systems) is carrying out a series of simulated tests with the new avionics of the SSJ-New, which also include the necessary controls to operate the new PD-8 engine.
Only Aeroflot, the main Russian airline, has recently ordered 89 SSJ-New.