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The Rise of MC-21: Russia’s Response to Western Aviation Sanctions

Putin says Russia plans to build 1,000 passenger planes

Due to Western sanctions against Russia, the country’s aviation industry is becoming more challenging. Russia is currently devising its own strategies and taking its aircraft to the next level so that it can fly and offer the necessary aviation support.

According to some reports, China wanted to work with Russia to build aircraft and supply the enjoins, but Russia is once again planning its own and not depending on any other nation.

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The SJ 100 is being rebranded by Russia with domestic engineering, which was completed last month. It will serve smaller regions and be about 5,000 kilometers away from the current Boeing and Airbus aircraft, which will eventually cease to exist due to problems with the parts supply chain. No nation would be able to supply it.

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The Russian aircraft manufacturer Irkut Corporation created and manufactured the MC-21, also referred to as the Irkut MC-21, a cutting-edge and contemporary commercial aircraft. It is designed to directly compete with well-known aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 in the narrow-body, single-aisle airliner market. The MC-21 is distinguished by its cutting-edge features, economical operation, and advanced design that cater to the changing demands of the international aviation sector.

The CR929 is a widebody aircraft with a range of up to 12,000 kilometers that is sized similarly to the Airbus A330 and intended to carry between 258 and 320 passengers. Due to protracted discussions regarding work sharing and intellectual property, CR929 has already “accumulated years of delays” and is not anticipated to go into service until well after 2030. Russia’s plans to develop larger aircraft, such as a joint venture with China on CR929, have been delayed.

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Delays in the MS-21 (MC-21) program timeline are another direct result of the withdrawal of Western suppliers. It was “expected to hand over the MC-21s in 2024 and roll out 270 of them through 2030,” according to the Russia-funded initiative. Russian manufacturers now have more time to replace imported actuators, avionics, and air conditioning. Russian PD-14 turbofans and a composite wing with infused Russian material were approved in December 2022.

The MC-21-300 and the shorter MC-21-200 are the two primary MC-21 variants. While the MC-21-200 can hold up to 132 passengers, the MC-21-300 is intended to carry between 163 and 211 passengers.

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Fuel Efficiency: Providing better fuel efficiency than its rivals is one of the main objectives of the MC-21 program. Its cutting-edge aerodynamics and contemporary engines enable it to do this, improving both its operating economy and environmental friendliness.

With “70% substituted Western-made equipment,” an MC-21 prototype is being developed, and work is anticipated to start in December 2023. The MC-21-310RUS, the fully import-substituted version, is scheduled to fly for the first time in April 2024 and be granted a supplemental-type certificate by the end of the same year.

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Therefore, the MC21 must update its engine, wings, and cockpit instruments. This will likely take more time, but it will undoubtedly benefit Russia by filling the gap left by narrow-body aircraft. additionally, it can be exported to other nations where Russia maintains strong diplomatic ties.

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

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