Irkut's MC-21 takes first flight, thanks to a global team

  • 12-Aug-2017 06:05 EDT
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Pratt & Whitney is supplying PW1000G high-bypass geared turbofan engines for the MC-21 while the Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofan (pictured on test bench) awaits certification in 2018. (Source: Irkut Corp.)

Eaton recently announced that it helped power the successful first flight of MC-21 commercial single-aisle twinjet airliner. The MC-21 was developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau and is currently being produced by Irkut Corp. Eaton was selected by Irkut to support the design, development, qualification, and certification of the hydraulic power generation system components for the MC-21, which completed its maiden flight on May 28 at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant airfield in Siberia.

Eaton manufactured engine-driven pumps for the first flying MC-21 prototype and supplied additional system sub-components including filters, thermal bypass valves, firewall shut-off valves, priority valves, check valves, high-pressure filter modules, return case drain filter modules, heat exchangers, and pressure switches.

Several other companies have contributed to the MC-21 since its initial development. Pratt & Whitney is supplying PW1000G high-bypass geared turbofan engines while Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofans await certification (slated for 2018).

UTC Aerospace Systems will provide electric power generation and distribution equipment; multiple companies including Rockwell Collins, Avionika, Honeywell, Thales, and Elbit Systems will supply various avionics systems.

However, the defining feature of the Irkut MC-21 is the carbon fiber reinforced composite polymer wings, produced by AeroComposite—claimed as "a world first" for an aircraft with a capacity of more than 130 passengers.

AeroComposite, a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corp. (UAC), was established in 2008 as an initiative to support the MC-21 and future UAC endeavors. Irkut claims that the MC-21 will yield an operational cost savings between 12 to 15% compared to costs of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft, in part due to the prolific use of composites—in approximately 40% of the aircraft—including in the vertical fins, horizontal fins, and wingbox.

According to recent statements of Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, the aircraft manufacturing industry will be the largest consumer of composite material in Russia during the coming year; mainly due to the planned production of the MC-21.

At the conclusion on MAKS 2017, Russia’s international aviation and space show, Irkut had closed contracts for 175 MC-21 aircraft and was in preliminary agreements for another 250. Russia, which plans to impose tariffs on similarly classed Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer aircraft as soon as 2019, is currently looking to market to MC-21 to Indonesia.

"We expect that MS-21 will be in demand on Indonesia’s booming market and provide the optimal solution for establishing reliable transport links between individual islands of the Indonesian archipelago," said Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, at a presentation in Jakarta on August 9.

Beyond the sale of MC-21 aircraft, Lavrov indicated interest in developing "diversified scientific, technical, and industrial cooperation with the local Indonesian partners" and establishing MRO centers in Indonesia.

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