Irkut fears MS-21 competition with China’s C919

ZHUKOVSKY, Moscow region, August 19 (Itar-Tass) —— The Irkut Corporation, which is building Russia’s new passenger liner MS-21, fears competition with China’s C919, Corporation President Alexei Fyodorov hinted on Friday.

“I think our plane will be better by technical and, what is more important, economic parameters. At the same time, China has a big advantage – the huge domestic market and the powerful support from the Chinese government,” he said.

According to unofficial sources, the C919 project costs about $30 billion. “I think this sum is realistic. Such investments will bring results in the end, especially as they have rather good partners,” he said.

U.S. General Electric is the strategic partner of the C919 project. The company makes engines and avionics of the Chinese passenger jet. “This means they have a rather good lobbyist on the American market,” Fyodorov remarked.

Information is scarce for comparing the two projects, he said. “We take C919 very seriously. I would not say we have fear, but we are watching it more closely than the projects of Airbus and Boeing. Everything is clear [about the rivals in Europe and the United States]. In their case, we know our advantages and what to do in our rivalry,” he said.

There are no problems in the funding of the MS-21 program, Fyodorov said. “Financing is incessant. The problem is how to spend the funds appropriately and on time,” he said.

“Next year will be vital for the project. The design stage will be complete and the documentation will be handed over to the Irkutsk Aircraft Plant and its partners. We will spend a large amount of money, including funds assigned under the MS-21 federal program,” Arms Tass quoted Fyodorov.

The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) signed a contract with Irkut at the MAKS 2011 international aerospace show on the delivery of 50 MS-21 jetliners to the state corporation Rostekhnologii and another 28 to the leasing company Ilyushin Finance Co.

A contract on the delivery of 50 jets to Indonesia was signed in 2010.

The Irkutsk Aircraft Plant, the main component of the Irkut Corporation, is practically ready to assemble the Irkut MS-21 jetliner, Fyodorov said a month ago.

All the workshops of the plant are undergoing profound modernization. Technologies developed in the transformation of Airbus passenger jets into cargo planes are being used. The plant has introduced about 2,200 Airbus standards and more than 150 standards of its own, Fyodorov said.

The MS-21 is a proposed series of three twin-engine short-range and mid-range Russian jet airliners with a capacity of 150-212 passengers to be produced by companies of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) group. It is being jointly developed by Irkut, Yakovlev and Tupolev, with Sukhoi, Beriev and Ilyushin also being involved in the program. The jet is slated to replace the Tupolev Tu-154 and Tupolev Tu-204/214 in service. It is due to have the first flight in 2014. Certification by Russian standards is planned for 2015, while certification by Western standards may be complete in 2016.

The MS-21 family will include three modifications, for 150, 181 and 212 passengers. The cargo and cargo/passenger version are also provided.

The MS-21, a key project of the UAC, is meant for the range from 3,000 to 5,000 kilometers, with the future goal of 7,000 kilometers. The plane will have the speed up to 850 kilometers per hour, for use in all environmental zones, all weather conditions, and day or night, and for airfields up to 3,000 meters above the sea level.

To increase the aircraft competitive ability in its class on domestic and international lines in period up to 2028, a number of advanced approaches were embodied in project as conception.

The optimized aircraft arrangement and aerodynamics, new advanced structural materials, FBW control system, integrated avionics, automatic systems monitoring and, as a result, improved operating cost make the aircraft attractive to customers. The aircraft meets all preservation of the environment requirements as well as IСАО requirements and airworthiness standards.

The modern passenger compartment and ECS make the aircraft comfortable for aircrew and passengers. The cargo compartments and their equipment can accommodate standard containers and pallets.

As customer options the aircraft can be equipped with avionics and engines of western production.

In the words of Fyodorov, advanced technologies will cut fuel consumption by 25% and maintenance costs by 12-15%. The result will be achieved with new wing aerodynamics, a larger share of composite materials, new engines and avionics.

“We hope that the MS-21 will enable Russia to meet up to 10% of the world demand for narrow fuselage jets,” he said.

The plant may produce up to 84 MS-21 jets per annum.


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