Russia invests billions in “Airliner of the 21st Century”

Computer rendering of the Irkut MC-21 / MS-21 (Image © United Aircraft Corporation)
Computer rendering of the Irkut MC-21 / MS-21 (Image © United Aircraft Corporation)

Will it be Moscow’s we-show-you-how-it-is-done мечтать лайнер – Dreamliner in Russian – or another aircraft with nightmare-causing childhood illnesses like the newest Boeing family member. The maiden flight of the Irkut MC-21 is planned for 2015, with the Kremlin and partners allocating another US$ 4.6 billion to get the first carbon fibre Russian airliner airborne in numbers.

Despite the fact the aircraft is still in full development, the planning is well ahead of schedule. The MC-21 – that will be internationally marketed as MS-21 – will be launched in three versions. The MC-21-200 is designed for 150 passengers, the MC-21-300 accommodates up to 180 passengers and the MC-21-400 will have a seating arrangement for max. 212 passengers. Russia intends to replace all Yakovlev Yak-42s and the Tupolev Tu-154s and Tu-134s by the new aircraft, starting in 2017.

The carbon fibre plane’s name is an abbreviation of Магистральный Самолёт 21 века or Magistralny Samolyot 21 veka written in latin characters. In English it reads Airliner of the 21st Century; we at AIRheads↑Fly admire that kind of bolt ambition. What we like as well is that the airliner should use 25 percent less fuel and has 15 percent lower maintenance costs compared to the aircraft it is replacing. That leaves more money for other magnificent flying machines.

First delivery of the MC-21 is expected in 2017, with a 50/50 shared commitment by the Russian Federation and private investors. The aircraft is a joint effort of the Russian design bureaus Irkut, Mikoyan, Yakovlev, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev and Beriev. The Irkut production company confirmed to have 175 firm orders for the aircraft MC-21, with a projected production rate of seven aircraft a month.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

Related posts