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15.09.03

Moscow Backs New Twinjet.

After RRJ, Russian government approves development aid for medium-haul YAK-242 derivative.

The Russian government has chosen a joint design from Yakovlev and Ilyushin to develop a new family of a short-to medium-haul twinjets.

The 130- to 170-seat airliner family, dubbed MS-21, was one of two contenders for launch aid under a government program to support new-generation civil aircraft development administered by Russian aviation and space agency Rosaviakosmos. The other was the Ilyushin Il-214, an airlifter derivative proposed by Ilyushin and NPK Irkut.

The MS-21 is the second program to receive financial aid through the program, after the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ), in which Yakovlev and Ilyushin are also involved (AW&ST May 5, p. 42). The aircraft is expected to replace the venerable Tupolev Tu-154, a workhorse of the Russian commercial fleet, and the Yakovlev Yak-42. Some 350 Tu-154s and 80 Yak-42s are currently listed in the Russian aviation register.

The MS-21 is essentially an improved version of the Yak-242, a successor to the Yak-42 trijet conceived in the mid-1990s that, like the Il-214, never got far beyond the drawing board. The aircraft features a spacious fuselage with an external diameter of 4.1 meters (13.5 ft.), and a super-critical aerofoil wing to enable a maximum cruising speed of 850 km./hr. (538 mi./hr.).

Three variants will be offered: the 132-seat MS-21-100 with a maximum range of 4,700 km. and gross weight of 65,800 kg. (145,00 lb.); the 156-seat MS-21-200 with a 5,500-km. range and 71,100-kg. maximum takeoff weight; and the 174-seat MS-21-300 with a 4,500-km. range and 72,000-kg. MTOW.

The MS-21 will be powered by Perm PS-12 engines, a derated version of the PS-90A turbofan that equips the larger: Tu-204 twinjet family. Previously earmarked for the Yak-242 as well, the PS-12 will have a maximum thrust of 12,000 kg., compared with 16,000 kg. for the PS-90A. As with the Yak-242, CFM 56-7B26 or V 2527-A5 turbofans are proposed as alternative powerplants.

The other losing bidder, Irkut, will join the MS-21 project as a risk-sharing partner. Irkut, a manufacturer of Su-30MKI fighter jets formerly named Irkutsk Aviation Production Assn., recently announced it would merge with Yakovlev to form an integrated design and production company (AW&ST Aug. 25, p. 24). Also supporting the program will be the National Reserve Bank, a co-owner of the state-controlled leasing entity Ilyushin Finance Co., and the biggest private shareholder of leading Russian carrier Aeroflot.

The development cost of the MS-21 is estimated at more than $460 million, of which only $200-210 million is to be provided by the Russian government. The remainder is to be covered by equity partners and bank credit, said Irkut boss Alex-ey Fedorov and his counterpart at Yakovlev, Oleg Demchenko. The potential market for the new jet is projected to be up to 400 airliners for domestic use and 250 more for export.

If funding is completed in timely fashion, the first prototype could be built by 2005 and the aircraft certificated by 2008.

But domestic airline executives indicated they will not be able to wait another 5-10 years to update and expand their medium-haul fleets, and that they will turn to Western-built aircraft provided the Russian government removes import tariff barriers. Siberia, Russia's second-largest operator, said it will seek to acquire Western airliners no matter what.

Michael A. TAVERNA contributed to this report from Paris.


Source: Aviation week & SpaceTechnology

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