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Yakovlev Yak-242 / ex Irkutsk MC21 / MS21

The MC-21's maiden flight 28 May 2017 took place as expected, with all the plane's onboard systems working flawlessly. Aeroflot has agreed to give five billion dollars for 50 Irkut MC-21 aircraft. A firm contract provides for deliveries from 2020 to 2026; the amount includes not only the market value of the aircraft, but also after-sales service.

By 2018 Irkut had received a loose order for almost three hundred Irkut MS-21, it was not clear how the Russian manufacturer is going to compete with the Boeing-737 MAX and Airbus A320neo, as well as the Comac C919 of the Chinese company Comac (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China) . The declared price of the Comac C919 is 50 million dollars - about half that of Western counterparts, and comparable to the price of the Irkut MS-21.

But as of late 2018 the airliner itself had never been officially presented at any of the international air shows. Even at MAKS in 2017, the MS-21 was present in the form of a bench sample. Due to the sanctions and bureaucratic difficulties at international air shows, especially in Europe, the Russian delegation is less and less representative every year, and airplanes and technical developments are present at best in the form of mockups. The American PW1000G engines were being installed on the MS-21. The Russian airliner MS-21 is supposed to be equipped in the near future with a domestic PD-14 engine. This may lead to an increase in the cost of operating the aircraft for its future buyers. The installation of domestic engines on new liners will not necessarily lead to a reduction in their cost, and in fact may even increase the cost of owning the aircraft. The MS-21 is competing directly against the Boeing-737 and the Airbus A-320 in the most capacious segment of the global commercial aviation market: mid-range travel. Russian observers expected the MC-21 to fare well against the US and European heavyweights. The MC-21 is designed to be faster, more efficient, and less expensive than its Western counterparts, having incorporated the latest in the field of aircraft construction, engine technology and avionics systems in its design.

For instance, while the Airbus A-320 and Boeing-737 have cruising speeds of 828 km/h and 842 km/h, respectively, the MC-21 is expected to have a cruising speed of 870 km/h. Furthermore, the plane's cost per unit is expected to run somewhere in the neighborhood of $72-$85 million US, depending on modification.

On the environmental front too, the MC-21 has been designed to come out on top, with pollution emissions reduced by 20% lower than Boeing and Airbus, and service costs are 12-15% lower. According to Irkut Corporation's calculations, airlines can expect to save up to $3 million per year operating the MC-21 compared with the US and European planes. The MC-21 incorporates a composite wing design the first of its kind for a domestic civilian aircraft of this class.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, whose portfolio includes aircraft construction, has taken a highly active role in promoting the new aircraft and supporting its development. On 30 May 2017, the minister finally revealed the real reason for the number '21' in the MC-21's name: "the MC-21 is 21% superior to its competitors in every respect fuel consumption, maintenance requirements, comfort, noise isolation, and weight. And of course, buyers will earn 21% more by flying these aircraft, compared to the catalogue prices of Boeing and Airbus planes."

In the early 2000s, Russias space authorities launched a competition for the development of a new aircraft to replace the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-154 that was designed in the mid-1960s. The Yak-242 was announced the winner of the competition shortly before the Yakovlev Design Bureau became part of the Irkut Corporation, later amalgamated into the newly-established United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The merger was mutually beneficial, as Irkut was looking for a design bureau for civil aircraft, while Yakovlev needed physical production capacity.

The Russian Defense Ministry planned to order a revamp of MC-21 passenger jets to create reconnaissance aircraft similar to the US AWACS aircraft, the head of sales for the planes producer, Irkut, told RIA Novosti on 17 June 2015. We havent begun talks yet with the [Russian] Defense Ministry on the precise base configurations, but its assumed this process will begin soon, Valery Lunkov said at the Le Bourget Air Show outside Paris. According to Lunkov, the Defense Ministry ordered 45 new Russian short- and mid-range MC-21 passenger planes to transport troops in order to replace the aging Tu-134s and Tu-154s.

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Page last modified: 04-11-2018 17:41:33 ZULU