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Tests of the MS-21 aircraft, which replaced the American engine with the Russian one, were successful

In the MS-21 program, about 60 imported systems and units are to be replaced.  Photo: Marina Lystseva/TASS

In the MS-21 program, about 60 imported systems and units are to be replaced. Photo: Marina Lystseva/TASS

Russian aviators have a holiday – the MS-21 medium-haul aircraft, on which the American engine was replaced with a domestic one, made a successful flight. This happened on October 7 at the airfield of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant.

Previously, this board has already been tested – but with the engine of the American corporation Pratt & Whitney. However, as part of the import substitution program adopted in response to Western sanctions, the “American” was removed, and a domestic PD-14 engine, which is produced by the United Engine Corporation (UEC), was installed instead.

The successful test was reported on the website of the Rostec Corporation, which includes the UEC.

After completing three flights, the prototype MS-21 will go to the city of Zhukovsky near Moscow to the flight test base of the OKB im. A.S. Yakovlev. It is planned to complete the certification of the aircraft with the Russian engine by the end of 2022, Andrey Boginsky, Deputy General Director of the United Aircraft Corporation for Civil Aviation, said.

Now this is the second MS-21 with a Russian engine that has successfully passed flight tests. The first flight took place on December 15, 2020. According to Boginsky, “joining the second side to the PD-14 engine tests is an important milestone in the framework of the MS-21 project and one of the key stages of the import substitution program.”

The joy of aircraft manufacturers is understandable. MS-21 is a hard-won and therefore especially expensive child of the domestic aviation industry. The start of mass production was planned for 2017, but was repeatedly postponed. This is not surprising, since in the same niche of medium-haul liners, the Boeing-737 and Airbus-320, tested by world practice, worked properly for us.

The gears of the ambitious domestic project really started spinning only when sanctions hit the country, and the aviation industry found itself in a situation where there was nowhere to retreat. In 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation took up the import substitution of components for this aircraft.

“In the MS-21 program, about 60 imported systems and units will have to be replaced,” Denis Manturov, head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, said earlier in an interview with KP. The units and assemblies in almost all systems of the aircraft were to be replaced – from tires to rescue ladders and seats.

And the most important thing is the replacement of the engine, it’s like a heart transplant. And the fact that ours has now been successfully “transplanted” instead of the American one suggests that such operations can be put on stream and not depend on imports – at least in terms of equipping with engines.

“In a number of parameters, our engines, in particular the PD-14, are not inferior to imported ones,” Honored Military Pilot of Russia, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Aviapanorama magazine, Aviation Major General Vladimir Popov, told KP.RU. – Technically, according to the mount, ours can also be installed on foreign aircraft if their “native” engines fail. The only nuance is that ours are heavier, and this must be taken into account when loading passengers and luggage in order to prevent overload.

WHAT IS THE MC-21 AIRCRAFT

MS-21 is a medium-haul airliner with a capacity of 163 to 211 passengers. Able to fly up to 6 thousand km – from Moscow to Ulan-Ude, for example (this is 5400 km), it will quite make it.

Its name stands for: “Main aircraft of the XXI century.” “The aircraft is being created on the basis of the latest developments in the field of aircraft construction,” Rostec reports. “Advanced aerodynamics, engines and systems of the latest generation provide high flight performance and reduced operating costs compared to analogues.”

The wing is made of lighter composite materials than metal. The lightness of the design made it possible to increase the size of the wing. And the enlarged wing made it possible to make the fuselage wider compared to imported “classmates”. The aircraft has become more comfortable, personal space for each passenger has been increased.

The motor failed too. According to Rostec, this is the first domestic aircraft jet engine in the last 30 years. It has low fuel consumption, reduced noise levels and emissions of harmful substances, according to the concern’s website.

WHAT IS THE PERSPECTIVE

The MS-21 series will not go soon. The domestic fleet of medium and long-haul aircraft was completed at the expense of imported aircraft. It will take several years to switch to domestic products.

– MS-21 should go into production in an imported form from the end of 2024, – Denis Manturov said in an interview with KP. – By the end of this year, the aircraft must be certified with Russian PD-14 engines.

The first production MS-21s will be delivered to our airlines in 2024 – it is planned to produce 6 aircraft, according to the “Comprehensive Program for the Development of the Air Transport Industry of the Russian Federation until 2030.” (adopted by the Government of the Russian Federation on June 25, 2022). Then deliveries will increase annually, and in 2029 they will reach the planned 72 units per year. In total, from 2024 to 2030, it is planned to supply 270 such aircraft to the domestic fleet.

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