The MC-21, a twin-engine, narrow-body aircraft, will enter commercial production in 2019, according to Irkut Corp., the Russian OEM that developed the new jets to compete with the Boeing 737, Airbus A320, and Commercial Aircraft Co. of China’s C919 series. An MC-21-300 completed the series’ maiden flight on May 28 in Eastern Siberia, according to Russian media.
Irkut plans initial production of 20 planes a year, increasing to 70 by 2023. It reportedly has firm orders for 285 aircraft, mostly with domestic Russian carriers and airlines in the C.I.S. bloc.
Irkut is a business unit of United Aircraft Corp., which is majority-owned by the Russian government. Its MC-21 is one of three in a series twin-engine aircraft for short- and mid-range routes, to carry 150-212 passengers.
The aircraft have not yet gained European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the MC-21. That clearance is expected next year.
The first flight was powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower® PW1400G-JM engines. According to Irkut, P&W will supply engines for the first series of jets produced, and a new turbofan engine called PD-14 being developed by another Russian firm Aviadvigatel will supply engines for MC-21 aircraft produced for the domestic market.
Pratt & Whitney offered congratulations to Irkut on the successful first flight of the MC-21-300 aircraft powered by PurePower® PW1400G-JM engines. The PW1400G-JM provides 28,000-31,000 lbs. of thrust and provides a 16% reduction in engine fuel burn compared to engines of comparable ratings, with lower noise and emissions levels.
The PW1400G-JM engine was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration more than a year ago.
"We have enjoyed collaborating with Irkut on the MC-21 development program and look forward to a successful aircraft certification phase," stated Chris Calio, president, Commercial Engines.