The Irkutsk Aviation Plant started assembly of the center fuselage of the first prototype MS-21 (MC-21) medium-size airliner, dubbed The Airliner of the 21st Century by Russia on 15 April 2015.
An Antonov AN-124 Ruslan brought elements designed by AeroKompozit to the plant. The company uses an automated way of applying dry carbon tape with vacuum infusion for the manufacturing of load-bearing elements of the wing of the aircraft, such as spars, the wing’s box and centre panels. The Russian designers expect the MS-21 to save 6 to 8 percent of fuel compared to similar planes, and up to 25 percent compared to the planes it will replace.
The Magistralny Samolyot 21 (MC-21), Russian for Carbon Fibre plane, is a joint effort of big names of the Russian aviation industry – Irkut, Mikoyan, Yakovlev, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev and Beriev – will be Moscow’s answer to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft will be launched in three different versions: the MS-21-200 for 150 passengers, the MS-21-300 accommodates up to 180 passengers and the MS-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.
First flight is expected later this year, with the first delivery planned for 2017. The Irkut production company confirmed to have 175 firm orders for the aircraft MS-21, written as MC-21 in Russian, with a projected production rate of seven aircraft a month.
© 2015 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Computer rendering of the Irkut MS-21/MC-21 (Image © United Aircraft Corporation)