Monday, 31 October 2016

Irkut MC-21

The Irkut MC-21 is a twin-engine short- to mid-range Russian jet airliner with a capacity of 150-212 passengers. The MC-21 is being developed and to be produced by Irkut and  Yakovlev Design Bureau of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) group. It was formerly known in English as MS-21; Russian: МС‑21 "Магистральный Самолёт 21 века" – "Magistralny Samolyot 21 veka" – "Airliner of the 21st Century".

The design is based on the never-realized, twin-engine Yakovlev Yak-242 as a development of the three-engine Yakovlev Yak-42.According to a recent statement made by Russian deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin, the name of the MC-21 serial production aircraft will again be Yak-242.

Irkut MC-21, first analysis


Feb. 08, 2016, © Leeham Co: We recently covered China’s COMAC C919 and now the time has come to the other new narrow body aircraft from the old Communist bloc, the Russian MC-21.

The aircraft is called Irkut MC-21. Not many have heard of Irkut, so the first reaction is that this aircraft is made by a new Russian aircraft firm. The change is that United Aircraft (the Russian aircraft industry holding company) this time called the aircraft after its manufacturing company and not the design bureau, Yakovlev, that Irkut acquired in 2004. There are discussions to change back to the project’s original name Yakovlev 242 once certification is done.

When we looked at the first civil airliner that the Russian federation designed after the fall of Soviet Union, the Sukhoi Superjet 100, we found a well designed aircraft equipped with Western system. The MC-21 follows the same lines, but has more Russian technological development. It is therefore well worth a look.


§        The MC-21 has its own profile. It is not a copy of a Western aircraft. It has a wider cabin than the A320, a wing which allows a higher cruise speed and a higher capacity in its base variant, the MC-21-300.

§        To make a meaningful comparison between the MC-21 and established aircraft, we have chosen to compare the MC-21-200 with the Airbus A320neo, as the MC-21-300 is larger than the A320neo but smaller than an A321neo. The MC-21-200 is closer in size to an A320neo.


The MC-21 project is United Aircraft’s and Russia’s second civil airliner project after the formation of the Russian federation. The program is used to rebuild the Russian part of the once great Soviet Union aeronautical industry around a key project.

Consequently, there has been considerable technology investment for the project. The wing is made with a new resin infusion Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) process and Russia has developed a new engine for the aircraft, the first in 30 years. The investments have been done to bring Russian aeronautical industry back to a position where it can compete with western industry in areas such a structures, aerodynamics and turbofans.

MC-21 layout

The MC-21 is very much its own design. The size of the two aircraft which gets developed first is given as 153 passenger’s single class for the MC-21-200 and 181 for the MC-21-300. This shall be compared to the 162 for A320 and and 200 seats for A321 when using the same seat standards.

The Russian designers have been using the space of the fuselage less aggressively and in a fair comparison the MC-21-200 is very close to the A320 in cabin size. We have therefore chosen to start our evaluation with comparing the MC21-200 and A320neo.

The MC-21has a larger diameter fuselage than any available or projected single aisle airliner, 4.06m. As a comparison, the A320 has a 3.95m wide fuselage, Figure 1. This will have a positive effect on the cabin layout as we will see later.

Figure 1. MC-21 overlaid with Airbus A320. Source: Leeham Co.

The nose of the aircraft resembles the Boeing 787 in that the designers could make it very short by using six curved windscreens instead of six straight and curved screens (A320).

The wing is similar to the A320 in span. It has slightly higher sweep and therefore cruise speed (M 0.8 instead of A320’s M 0.78) and slightly larger wing area. The lack of winglets and the larger area makes the aspect ratio lower than an A320neo, table in Figure 2.

The aerodynamics of the wing is made by the huge state Aeronautical research organization, TsAGI, which also did the aerodynamics of the Sukhoi Superjet. The design emphasis is the same, a slim wing with a good aspect ratio despite not using winglets.

This aspect ratio is possible as this wing is made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRP). This allows the designer more freedom because the weight stays lower despite a long span and it allows the tailoring of the wings form and aero-elasticity to a higher degree than a classical aluminum wing would allow. We covered the manufacturing method using Out-Of-Autoclave (OOA) techniques here.

The wing does not have any winglet or raked wingtips. This is no sign of not knowing how to do such devices. A common misunderstanding is that a winglet or raked tip increases a wing’s efficiency by affecting the wingtip vortices. This is a misconception.

Wing tip devices are part of the overall wing design and they improve the wing’s drag characteristics by forming a wider and (ideally) more elliptical lift distribution. If you achieve your target lift distribution with your base wing within the gate width restrictions you have, you don’t need the complexity of a special wingtip.

Figure 2. Main dimensions of A320neo and MC-21. Source: Leeham Co.

The MC-21 is equipped with a feedback based Fly-By-Wire, it can thereby keep the horizontal and vertical tails small. The airframes have as a result a similar total wetted area, meaning the MC-21 has managed to get more cabin area and larger wing area (for stretched versions like the MC21-300) within the same wetted area as the A320neo.

The shorter/wider fuselage and CFRP wing also have a positive effect on the aircraft’s Operational Empty Weight, OEW. Irkut does not state the empty weight (neither does Airbus). Our aircraft models weight analysis shows the MC-21-200 to have a two tonnes lower empty weight than an A320neo.


The wider fuselage allows a six abreast fuselage with a wider middle aisle, Figure 3. The idea is that passengers will be able to pass each other during boarding and deplaning. This will help with ground turnaround time.

The doors of the MC-21 and A320 are placed at about the same distance; hence the MC-21 and A320 have similar cabin lengths. The 12cm wider cabin gives the MC-21 a larger cabin area. The 12cm wider cabin gives the MC-21 a larger cabin area.

Figure 3. Cabins MC-21 (top) and A320neo (bottom). Figure to scale. Source: Leeham Co.

Airbus seems to have used the available length more efficiently. The MC-21-200 cabin is said to take 135 passengers in a 2 class whereas Airbus shows 150 passengers on the same cabin length. With similar galley areas and seats for both aircraft the MC21-200 should be closer to the A320 150 passenger capacity.

Part of the difference in seating comes from the chosen emergency exit layout. Airbus uses a plug type over-wing exit where Irkut/Yakovlev team uses a plug door aft of the wing, which takes more place.

Next steps

In the next article we will look deeper into the operational aspects of the aircraft and do our first fuel consumption estimates. We will then use the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine, which we know from the A320neo.

In a follow up article we will look closer at the new Russian Aviadvigatel PD- 14 turbofan which has been developed as an alternative engine for MC-21 and do fuel consumption predictions with that engine as well.

By Bjorn Fehrm Source:

Comac C919: Details

Intended to replace the Yakovlev Yak-42, Tupolev Tu-134, Tupolev Tu-154, and Tupolev Tu-204/214s in service, the MC-21 certification and delivery was initially planned by 2016, but later delayed to the end of 2018.


The initial design is to include composite materials (about 33%), increasing to 40-45% provided a composite wing is added in 2015. In March 2008, a contract was signed which will see Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Sukhoi Corporation, designing and manufacturing composite wings for the aircraft. Engines supplied for the Russian domestic market will be the Aviadvigatel PD-14. In December 2009, Pratt & Whitney announced that the Irkut Corporation had selected the PW1000G engine to power the MC-21. On 20 August 2009, Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, announced they had signed a $2.3 billion deal with Irkut to supply systems for the MC-21. Irkut also selected Rockwell Collins and its Russian partner Avionika to supply the MC-21's avionics. Goodrich also a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation, along with Aviapribor, secured the mandate to develop an integrated control system for the MC-21.The Interior will feature furnishings from Zodiac Aerospace, coordinated from C&D Zodiac in Huntington Beach, California. The Water and Waste Systems of the aircraft will incorporate innovations from Zodiac Aerospace in Carson, California.

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The designer plans that the MC-21 will be 10-15% more efficient than Airbus and Boeing  aircraft in the same class and it will have a 15% structural weight efficiency advantage, 20% lower operating costs, and 15% lower fuel consumption than the Airbus A320 with an initial target price of $35 million USD.

Tail fuselage MS-21


As of 2009, the MC-21 was in the pre-design phase, with projected completion of the first prototype in 2013, the first flight in 2014 and deliveries commencing in 2016. By June 2011, the pre-design phase of development had been completed, giving way to the working design phase in which models and drawings are constructed, with an estimated completion date of this phase sometime in mid-2012.

Delayed delivery was announced by Dmitry Rogozin - vice-premier of Russian Government in charge of defense industry - on 10 February 2012, with first flights planned 2016 and delivery planned in 2017.

Main landing gear – Image:

The -300 was rolled-out on 8 June 2016 in Irkutsk, East Siberia, six years after program launch and with 175 orders. It could be the first commercial aircraft with an out of autoclave composite manufacturing for its wings. The program faces domination of the single-aisle market by Airbus and Boeing and Russian protectionism hampering critical western suppliers for the avionics, landing gear, hydraulics, power systems and engines.

MC-21-300 commercial airliner first flight: Here


On 28 May, 2017, the maiden flight of MC-21-300 commercial aircraft took place at the airfield of Irkutsk Aviation Plant, the affiliate of Irkut Corporation (a UAC member).

The duration of the flight was 30 minutes at the altitude of 1000 meters, at the speed of 300 km/hour.

The flight plan included checking of in-flight stability and controllability, and also the controllability of the power plant. According to the program, during the flight a simulated landing approach was performed, followed by a flight over the runway, climbing and turning. This technique is typical for the maiden flight of new types of aircraft.

The aircraft was piloted by the crew commander Oleg Kononenko, test pilot, the Hero of Russia, and the copilot Roman Taskayev, test-pilot, The Hero of Russia.

Oleg Kononenko reported, “flight mission is accomplished. The flight went in the normal mode. There are no obstacles revealed preventing the tests continuation”.

MC-21 aircraft has flown nonstop from Irkutsk to Zhukovsky

On October 17 2017, the first test MC-21-300 aircraft flew from the airfield of Irkutsk Aviation Plant to the airfield of Flight Research Institute n.a. M.M. Gromov (Ramenskoye, Moscow Region), to continue flight tests.

The aircraft flew nonstop 4 500 km for 6 hours at the altitude of 10 000 meters.

Mr Oleg Kononenko, the Hero of Russia, the test pilot and the flight crew commander, noted: “The flight went in standard mode. All aircraft systems operated without failures.”

Mr Yuri Slyusar, the President of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Irkut Corporation said: “Today we open the new milestone of MC-21 program. Ahead, there is a continuation of flight and ground tests, introduction of new aircraft samples into test program, certification and initiation of serial production. Together with Irkut Corporation, a number of UAC enterprises, our partners from Rostec Corporation, and leading foreign companies participate in the MC-21 program. This program moves our enterprises to the new technological level and ensures the professional growth of our specialists.”

Mr Oleg Demchenko, the First Vice-President and the Chief Designer of Irkut Corporation said: “Flight tests of MC-21 aircraft performed at Irkutsk Aviation Plant, together with the long flight (from Irkutsk to Ramenskoye) prove declared aircraft characteristics. Since today, tests will be continued at Flight Test and Development Facility of Yakovlev Design Bureau. The new hangar with the new up-to-date complex for collection, processing, and storage of information, obtained during flight and ground tests, had been built for MC-21 basing.” Source:

Second MC-21 flying prototype to be powered up in October

There are currently four more prototypes inside the final assembly hangar (Irkut Corporation)

The second flying prototype of the Russian MC-21-300 narrowbody airliner is expected to be powered up for the first time on October 20, the OEM’s corporate newspaper Irkutskiy Aviastroitel reports. The airframe is scheduled to commence flight tests in December.

The planemaker will complete assembly of the third prototype in April 2018, federal broadcaster Irkutsk reports, citing Irkut Corporation CEO Alexander Veprev.

In the meantime, the first MC-21 flying prototype will depart for Zhukovsky airfield in mid-October for a set of certification tests.

The МС-21-300 flight test program was launched on May 28, 2017. The initial stage of the factory flight tests was completed on June 23; this included six flights, which allowed for checking on the airplane’s stability and controllabiilty with the landing gear up both up and down.

The test program also covered checks on the powerplant and various onboard systems. The second phase, commenced in September; is mainly focused on running the aircraft through an extended range of flight regimes. By the beginning of the second stage of flight tests, the software and several systems of the prototype had been upgraded.

So far, the existing МС-21-300s have been powered by certified Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines. The fourth flight test article will be fitted with Russian-made Aviadvigatel PD-14s, as announced earlier by Deputy Prime Mnister Dmitry Rogozin.

Along with the flight tests, the aircraft is currently undergoing a major ground test program, which started in summer 2016 when the first MC-21 was delivered to the Zhukovskiy’ Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI). The entire ground test program will involve three test articles.

Irkut is completing assembly of four aircraft, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) reports. The airframer received the kit for the fourth airplane from Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar SP earlier this summer; Avisatar announced at the time that it would deliver two more kits to Irkutsk by the end of 2017. The assembly of the first production МС-21-300s was expected to start this year as well according to the earlier plans.

The latest news available suggests the PW1400G-powered aircraft will be certified in Russia in 2019. The МС-21 order backlog currently stands at 175 units. Source:


The MC-21 is composite structure low-wing cantilever monoplane with a tricycle landing gear and powered by two wing-mounted turbofan engines. It has a glass cockpit with side-stick controls and an optional Head-up display. To meet a requirement to speed up turn-round time the 3.81m wide cabin has wider luggage racks than contempary types.

Marina Listseva -
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The baseline MC-21-300 is designed around 180 passengers in single-class configuration and will be followed by a 153-seat -200 with basic and extended-range models, plus a very-long-range MC-21-200LR. A larger 212-seat -400 version is taken under consideration. Initially, a smaller variant, MC-21-100, with a capacity of up to 132 passengers, was also proposed, but, in order to avoid competition with the Sukhoi Superjet 130, it was cancelled. Cargo and business variants are also being considered.

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Shortened version with up to 176 passengers.

MC-21-200 – Image:

Standard model with up to 211 passengers.

MC-21-300 – Image:


Planned stretched model with up to 230 passengers.


PW1400 engines 

PW1400 engines at Irkutsk Aviation Plant – Image -
PW1400 engines
PW1400 engines

Technical data:

The first prototype is equipped with Pratt & Whitney’s PW1400G engines, freshly certified by the FAA in May this year. Russian certification of the MC-21-300 with the PW1400 is scheduled for 2018 with the EASA certification to follow in 2019. The PW1431G model with 14.1 ton nominal thrust is designed for the MC-21-300. The serial production of the PW1400G series will be launched by April 2017.

PD-14 engine 

PD-14 engine – Image:
PD-14 engine
PD-14 engine

Engine Modifications under Development

  • The family of advanced turbofan engines for short- and medium-haul aircraft comprises the following engines: PD-14, PD-14А, PD-14М, PD-10;
  • PD-14 – baseline engine for МС-21-300 aircraft;
  • PD-14А – derated modification of the engine for МС-21-200 aircraft;
  • PD-14М – uprated modification of the engine for МС-21-400 aircraft;
  • PD-10 – derated modification of the engine (10...11 ton-force) for SSJ‑NG aircraft.


An alternative powerplant for the aircraft is the Russian-made PD-14. The 12-14 ton thrust PD-14/14A will power the MC-21-300 and -200 versions. UEC has already landed a contract for at least 35 such powerplants, to be mounted on Aeroflot’s MC-21s. The engine’s Russian certification is set for the spring of 2017, to be followed by EASA certification in 2018. The model is being developed by UEC subsidiary – Perm-based Aviadvigatel and will enter series production at Perm Motors, which is planning to be building 40 engines per year by 2025 and 50 annually by 2030.

L-76LL with a perspective PD-14 engine - Full engine details: Here


Development of aircraft engine PD-14 follows the plan according to the information provided by Joint engine manufacturing corporation (ODK). Russian certificate is to be issued in the second quarter of 2018. One of the first flying developmental model of the new jet MC-21 will be equipped with PD-14 engine in 2019.

Alexander Artyukhov, Head of ODK, mentioned that performance of bench testing and flight testing of MC-21 would require manufacture of 11 engines PD-14. At the present time there are 10 ready engines. One more engine will be manufactured in September 2017.

HGT750[C] APU (131-9 APU)

As a follow-on to our most popular auxiliary power unit (APU), the 131-9 APU, we developed the HGT750 to meet the needs of the COMAC C919 and Irkut MC-21 aircraft. This APU adheres to the latest certification standards while delivering world-class fuel efficiency. It features variable-speed capability while using a lower weight starter/generator.

Additionally, the HGT750 features the lowest emission standards in the industry, utilizing our innovative combustor system which provides 25% lower emissions.


New Generation Medium-haul Aircraft  Performance Comparison

Orders: Here

By the end of MAKS 2013, total commitments for MC-21 raised to 276 aircraft, including 175 firm orders, according to Irkut vice-president of marketing and sales Kirill Budaev. Fifty of them were ordered by the Aviakapital-Service leasing company (a subsidiary of the Rostec corporation) for Aeroflot and 35 more, powered by PD-14 turbofan engines, for governmental customers. Fifty planes more were ordered by Ilyushin Finance Co.; six of them to be leased to Transaero, though Transaero bankrupted in 2015, 10 to Red Wings. Thirty more airliners were bought by VEB Leasing; 10 of them could be leased to UTair Aviation and 6 to Transaero. In addition, Irkut now has a single-source contract with IrAero for 10 planes plus an agreement with Sberbank Leasing for 20 aircraft, with the latter agreement to increase the order to 195 airliners. Ilyushin Finance & Co. and Azerbaijan Airlines CJSC have signed a memorandum of intent for the supply of Irkut MC-21 planes. The volume and time of the supplies are not specified.

Revised Nov 17, 2017