Russia unveiled a new medium-range passenger plane on Wednesday. The country’s media claimed that it is superior in many ways to its western-made counterparts.
Irkut Corporation unveiled its new MC-21 plane in an extravagant ceremony. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The aircraft is still undergoing testing and will enter serial production this coming year. The plane is also known as MS-21, as reported by Reuters.
Prime Minister Medvedev described the medium range passenger plane as “cool” and said that it would become a pride to the country. According to him, it was important that Russia, despite the high cost the plane involved, was able to stay in the top league of aircraft makers.
He said, “This is a huge victory for our aviation industry and Irkut Corporation, our scientists, designers, engineers and workers.”
The medium range passenger plane cost $4.7 billion (100 billion rubles). Irkut’s parent company United Aircraft Corporation said that the plane would be able to service routes with a range up to 6,400 km, as stated by CNBC. Two models of the twin-engine jet will be developed. One will offer around 211 seats while the other will have not more than 165 seats to accommodate passengers.
IBT in its report stated that the aircraft is made of composite materials and lightweight alloys of aluminum and titanium, which makes it more fuel efficient than its western counterparts. Moreover, two-third of the aircraft’s components will be produced domestically, and some components will be imported from Irkut’s foreign partners.
“It is not made of metal, it is made of composite materials. That allows us to give it a special shape. It is much lighter and stronger so it is a great step in the development of our aviation industry,” said Vladimir Valkov, vice president of Irkut Corporation.
United Aircraft Corporation in one of its statements said, “MC-21 will replace the Tu-154 fleet, Tu-134, Yak-42, which are actively used by the Defence Ministry, the Federal Security Service [and] the Emergencies Ministry. PD-14 will be certified in 2017, we will devote two years to a flight test program. So far the PD-14 program is going according to schedule. We hope for a more economical and cost-effective engine.”
Russian air service Aeroflot has already ordered 50 MC-21 and the planes will be delivered by late-2018. They are the first client of the medium range passenger plane. Reportedly, the aircraft will be mass produced and sold to foreign carriers after 2020.