MS-21 – digest for December-2023. Results of the year

Photo by © UAC

On 20 December 2023, the third stage of R&D on replacing imported materials and products in the MS-21 aircraft design with domestic analogues was completed. The work acceptance act was signed on 19 December by representatives of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and PJSC Yakovlev. Import substitution works were carried out in accordance with the state contract dated 28 July 2021.

During the year, technological testing of the MS-21 structure manufacturing from Russian-made composite materials was carried out. Together with TsAGI, life tests were conducted on the wing, centre wing, keel and stabiliser caissons, wing mechanisation and control surfaces, as well as static and repeated static tests on the PD-14 pylon. Within the framework of qualification, elementary samples of wing and centre wing caisson materials were tested to determine design characteristics. Structural samples of wing and centre wing caisson elements made of domestically produced PCM were tested in order to experimentally determine the strength of these force elements. Repair technologies of airframe structure with units made of Russian PCM were worked out.

On December 7, at the meeting of the UAC Technical Committee, the concept of an in-line assembly line for MC-21 pylons was considered and unanimously approved as part of the UAC Pylons Specialisation Centre (PSC) project at the Voronezh Aviation Plant. This is part of the overall CSP project, according to which by 2025 VASO is to produce 32 sets of MC-21 pylons, and in 2027 – 72.

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A new PV-900 furnace for vacuum annealing of titanium alloy parts has been installed in Shop 233 of the Irkutsk Aviation Plant; it is a more advanced version of the furnace that has been in operation in the shop since 2020. The main nomenclature of processed products is large-sized parts with special strength requirements. They bear the main load in the overall structure of the aircraft airframe.

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The MC-21 aircraft is approved to carry 211 passengers: on 26 December 2023, Rosaviatsia issued a major modification approval (MPA) to the type certificate. Previously, the jetliner was allowed to carry 36 fewer passengers – no more than 175. The OGI to the type certificate will allow the MS-21 aircraft to be delivered to airlines in all configurations, including the most spacious one.

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On 14 December 2023, the MS-21 prototype aircraft with registration number 73053 performed an automatic landing under ICAO Category IIIA. Zhukovsky Flight Control Service congratulated the crew on another step towards certification of the import-substituted version of the airliner. The aircraft was piloted by a crew consisting of Andrey Voropaev, test pilot of the Yakovlev Design Bureau, Honoured Test Pilot of the Russian Federation, and Oleg Mutovin, test pilot of the Yakovlev Design Bureau, Hero of Russia, flight operators Alexander Solovyov and Oleg Berezin.

Category IIIA means that it is allowed to land with a visibility range on the runway of at least 200 metres and a decision height of less than 30 metres. An aircraft qualifying for Category IIIA must provide automatic descent and pre-landing levelling, thrust reduction and touchdown on the runway.

The peculiarity of this event is that automatic landing is ensured by algorithms of the complex control system (CCS) of the automatic control system (ACS) irrespective of what kind of avionics equipment is installed on the aircraft, in this case the equipment is imported. The algorithms were developed jointly by the Automatic Control Systems Department of Yakovlev PJSC and the Moscow Institute of Electromechanics and Automation (MIEA). The hardware is by KRET and MIEA.

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In December 2023, flights were performed by flight 73053. The aircraft was in the sky for a total of 34 h 40 min in nine flights. The December programme included an assessment of the functioning of the software of the CCS ACS modes. Continued takeoffs with the use of the automatic thrust unit, automated departure for the second circle and automatic landings were performed in two configurations of wing mechanisation: when it was fully and partially released.

A total of 114 flights with a total duration of 365 hours and 13 minutes were performed by MS-21 prototype aircraft in 2023.

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In 2024, it is planned to start flights for certification of the MC-21-310RUS version. At present, the Irkutsk Aircraft Plant has two prototype aircraft: 73055 and 73057, on which Russian equipment, aircraft systems and units are being assembled. These aircraft will resume factory testing in the first half of the year, and it is planned to complete certification and obtain approval of the main type design change at the end of December 2024.

Thus, R&D on the import-substituted version and its submission for certification testing will continue during the year. It is also planned to continue flights to assess the performance of the PD-14 engine in icing conditions.

The comprehensive programme for the development of the aviation industry until 2030 stipulates that in 2024 the first six MS-21 aircraft are to be handed over to Aeroflot.