Assembly of first MC-21-200 to begin in 2017

Aviastar-SP has started fuselage panel deliveries for the third MC-21-300 prototype Aviastar-SP has started fuselage panel deliveries for the third MC-21-300 prototype (Photo by Aviastar-SP)

Assembly of prototypes for the Irkut MC-21-200 narrowbody airliner will begin in 2017. Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar-SP plans to deliver airframe elements for the first two test examples of this shortened version to Irkutsk Aviation Plant next year. It will also ship a set of elements for another prototype of the MC-21-300 baseline version.

The MC-21-200 is 8.5 m shorter than the -300 baseline, and can carry between 132 and 165 passengers. Its maximum take-off weight will stand at 72,560 kg, against the -300’s 79,250 kg, and its range will be 6,400 km, or 400 km longer than that of the baseline. Yakovlev Engineering Center is working to produce design documentation for the shortened modification.

Aviastar-SP is the largest supplier under the MC-21 program. The company manufactures sets of fuselage panels, ventral body and APU compartments, as well as doors and complete empennages for the type.

Aviastar-SP has recently started fuselage panel deliveries for the third MC-21 prototype to the Irkutsk enterprise, which is responsible for final assembly. The rest of the fuselage components for this particular airframe will be delivered by year-end. The Ulyanovsk company is also preparing to ship the empennage of the second, ground-testing prototype, which is to be assembled by the end of this summer.

The first MC-21-300 prototype was rolled out earlier in June; the first flight is expected to take place in 2017. Apart from the first two prototypes, the Irkutsk plant is building three more; one of these will be used in flight tests, and the other two will be endurance-tested on the ground. Aviastar-SP says it will have built a full set of components for the fourth prototype by the end of the year.

Aviastar-SP runs a dedicated MC-21 component assembly shop, and is readying its fuselage panel and empennage assembly line for series production. The company is planning to organize on-the-job training courses to speed up personnel conversion to MC-21 production.

Kommersant daily reported earlier that OEM Irkut Corporation aims to build four production MS-21s by 2018. Production rate is expected to reach 20 airframes by 2020, and around 70 by 2033. The company’s existing production capacities allow for building 10 mc-21 aircraft annually. The OEM plans to switch to two-shift working days and make use of reserve capacity in order to double this figure.

Irkut’s portfolio of firm orders for the type currently stands at 175 aircraft: 85 from Avia Capital Services (of which 50 are intended for Aeroflot), 50 from Ilyushin Finance Co., 30 from VEB Leasing, and 10 from IrAero Airlines. MC-21-300 deliveries are expected to begin in late 2018 to an Aeroflot Group carrier.

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