MC-21 – digest for September-2023

© Alina Klimova / Irkutsk Aircraft Plant / The assembly shop of the Irkutsk aircraft plant. Archive photo

In September, Vladivostok hosted the VIII Eastern Economic Forum, during which PJSC Yakovlev and Aurora Airlines signed a letter of intent for the delivery of ten MC-21 aircraft between 2027 and 2030. The agreement formalised the main terms of the deal, which will be subsequently reflected in the aircraft delivery and leasing contracts. According to the signed document, the first two aircraft are planned to be delivered by the end of 2027.

Also within the framework of EEF-2023, Aeroflot and Rossiya Airlines signed financial lease agreements with Aviacapital-Service leasing company for 18 MC-21 and 34 SJ-100 aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement between Aeroflot and the lessor, the airline will receive six MC-21 aircraft on lease. In turn, the agreement between Rossiya Airlines and the leasing company implies the delivery of 12 MC-21 aircraft and 34 SJ-100 aircraft.

The leasing deals between Aeroflot, Rossiya Airlines and Aviacapital-Service LLC are implemented in accordance with the investment project of favourable leasing of domestic aircraft approved by the Government in January this year. The project involves the transfer to Aeroflot Group of the first 52 new MC-21 and SJ-100 aircraft scheduled for delivery between now and 2025.

The MC-21 and SJ-100 to be delivered to Aeroflot Group’s fleet are already under construction, some machines are in a high degree of readiness, and tests of import-substituting units for these machines are underway. In parallel, tests of new systems and units are underway. The contracts signed in Vladivostok are the first in a deal to supply 339 new Russian aircraft to Aeroflot Group.

The Irkutsk aircraft plant said that the company’s first priority is to assemble a fully import-substituted aircraft for certification testing, test its systems, hand them over to the technical control and independent inspection bureaus and hand over the aircraft for flight testing. “The goal is to get the first import-substituted MC-21 aircraft into the air ‘under the Christmas tree’ – that is, at the end of this year. Then it will fly to Zhukovsky, to the flight test and development complex of the Yakovlev Design Bureau, where it will undergo certification tests,” said Mikhail Kirillov, head of the MC-21 final assembly shop at the Irkutsk Aircraft Plant.

He explained that the company’s team has a goal to deliver a fully import-substituted prototype aircraft for testing in 2024, while the airline has a goal to deliver the first six production aircraft. “In 2025 – 12, in 2026 – 22 and reach the average figure of 36 aircraft per year. And in the long term – to 72 aircraft per year. There are already 12 MC-21s in production now. All aircraft are at different stages of production. The first seven have already been assembled. The installation of domestic systems and units has begun on the aircraft,” Mikhail Kirillov told the Central Trade Union newspaper Solidarnost.

Andrey Boginsky, General Director of PJSC Yakovlev, said that 18 MC-21 aircraft are currently in production at IAP. According to him, six aircraft will join Aeroflot’s fleet, and another 12 will join Russia. “They are all at different stages of production. The first five airframes are ready, assembled, and the installation of domestic systems and units has begun. In parallel, the certification process is underway,” he said. The head of Yakovlev also said that deliveries of the MC-21 will start from 2024.

The Saratov-based Sergo Ordzhonikidze Electrical Instrument Plant is ready to launch an onboard firewall for the MC-21. As part of the on-board equipment complex (OEC) of the MC-21 aircraft, the firewall is designed to switch regular and service on-board communication channels and protect information of the on-board computing and communication environment (OBC) from unauthorised access.

The equipment provides switching of information packets between the interface channels of the “protected zone” of the OBC and its “unprotected zone” (Ethernet), protects the “protected zone” from unauthorised access attempts via data transmission channels, downloads data and software code via ARINC 429 lines in accordance with ARINC 615 standard to the terminal systems of the MC-21 OBC.

Two Russian airborne collision avoidance systems (ACAS) for the first production SJ-100 aircraft were delivered to the Yakovlev Production Centre in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The products are designed and manufactured by the St Petersburg-based Navigator Institute of Aviation Instrumentation. In addition to the SJ-100, the Russian ACAS can be installed on any other civil aircraft previously equipped with imported equipment, including the MC-21 aircraft.

In 2024, the Russian Government will allocate an additional RUB 1.14 billion to finance the serial production of MC-21 aircraft. In 2025, an additional RUB 625.4 million will be allocated, and in 2026 – RUB 619.8 million. The increase in financing is due to the growth of the volume of work on the development of MC-21 aircraft. Earlier in July, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that about 280 billion rubles would be allocated from the National Welfare Fund for MC-21.

Anatoly Gaidansky, First Deputy General Director of PJSC Yakovlev – General Director of JSC AeroComposite, said that the Ulyanovsk enterprise and Novocherkassk South Russian State Polytechnic University named after N.I. Platov are ready for the project. N.I. Platov South Russian State Polytechnic University are ready to conclude an agreement on delivery of the automated portal for laying out of dry carbon tape for manufacturing of wing panels of MC-21 aircraft.

According to Anatoly Gaidanskiy, the domestic technology has been fully tested, and the results of high quality, speed and reliability of the system have been obtained. The next goal is to scale this solution for serial production of composite wing structures of MC-21 and increase the volume of aircraft production.

“The guys are very competent, they work well, we are satisfied. For a very long time we have been working out the first lay-out processes with them. I must say that they spent a tremendous amount of time, and now we are contracting with them not for a robot, but for a large portal that will allow us to lay out large wing panels. This is all for the serial production of the MC-21 aircraft,” he said.

In September 2023, seven flights were carried out in Zhukovsky under the certification programme for the MC-21-310rus version of the aircraft, involving Flight 73051.

Six flights continued to characterise the ground noise produced by PD-14 engines. On 5 September, an 8-minute flight was performed with landing in automatic mode after leaving for the second round. As we have previously reported, such flights are performed in order to extend the type certificate in the future to provide landing under ICAO Category III.