Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), manufacturer of the SBJ, is extending the range of the VIP version of its SSJ100LR regional airliner to 7,200 km, thereby enabling it to cover longer distances, such as between Moscow and Vladivostok, without fuel stops.
Evgeny Andrachnikov, SCAC’s vice-president for SBJ sales, explained at this week’s RUBAE 2018 business aviation exhibition in Moscow that this will be achieved by fitting and certifying four additional auxiliary fuel tanks to the aircraft, bringing the total number of tanks to eight.
“We have been tasked by our shareholder and we are committed to achieving this objective in 2019: to design and certify more auxiliary fuel tanks to cover the distance between Moscow and the Far East. 7,200 km is the target,” Andrachikov said. The commercial SSJ100LR version range is currently 4,587 km.
A previous project to extend the range – the installation of the first set of four auxiliary tanks – was completed and certified last year. That upgrade boosted the SBJ’s range to 6,000 km and has already been successfully implemented on an aircraft operated by Kazakhstan’s border patrol.
The manufacturer also claims that another new addition – blended winglets, dubbed saberlets for their shape, which are on schedule for certification before the end of this year – will help to extend the range. Andrachnikov told Russian Aviation Insider that, from now, all newly built SBJs will be fitted with the winglets, and the option is available as a retrofit. The saberlets will also contribute to the aircraft’s runway performance whilst reducing fuel burn by at least three per cent.
Andrachnikov recalled that, in 2019, Superjet 100 is expected to win approval for steep approaches, a particular requirement of the aircraft’s European operator CityJet. The Irish airline intends to use the aircraft for flights to London City airport. This option is expected to be extremely popular with all SBJ customers. SCAC is also planning to satisfy other customer wishes, such as integrated airstairs.
The first SBJ was sold in 2013 and today the type is in operation with RusJet, Rossiya Special Flight Squad, Comlux KZ (on behalf of metallurgical corporation Kazakhmys), Kazakhstan’s border patrol and the Royal Thai Air Force. Currently, the collective fleet stands at 11 units. The target markets for the type are CIS countries, Middle East, south-east Asia and Africa. One recent contract, Andrachnikov revealed, is a 2019 signed-for delivery of an SBJ to the president of Zambia. The aircraft, which SCAC believes occupies the niche between heavy business jets and VIP-versions of airliners such as ACJ and BBJ, is priced between US$45m and $49 million.
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