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-21RussianМС‑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.

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

Comac C919: Details

Intended to replace the Yakovlev Yak-42Tupolev Tu-134Tupolev 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.

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.


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.


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.
Standard model with up to 211 passengers.
Planned stretched model with up to 230 passengers.


PW1400 engines 

PW1400 engines at Irkutsk Aviation Plant – Image -

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 

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Main Advantages of PD Engines

High reliability

Mean time to engine in-flight shutdown which is not recoverable in flight
> 200 000 h
A/C departure reliability related to engine readiness
> 99,96 %
Low fuel consumption

Reduced SFC compared to other contemporary engines
> 10...15 %
Compliance with upcoming environmental standards

Noise reduction relative to ICAO Stage 4 requirements
> 15...20 EpNdB
NOx emission reduction relative to ICAO 2008 requirements
> 30 %
Compliance with current certification requirements
АП-33, FAR-33, CS-E, ETOPS

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, multi-purpose transport aircraft;
  • PD-10 – derated modification of the engine (10...11 ton-force) for SSJ‑NG aircraft.
Engine Specifications
(all parameters are without intake losses and customer air bleeds)
T/O thrust (Н = 0; М = 0), ton-force
Cruise SFC, kg/kgf·h
-(10-15) % relative to other contemporary engines of the similar thrust range and application 
Fan diameter, mm
Dry engine weight, kg
Engine configuration

Besides, the technologies developed within the PD-14 Engine Program are planned to be used to make IGTs for GT Compressor and Generator Packages rated at 8 and 16 MW.


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.

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.

Cockpit crew
Seating capacity
176 (1-class, maximum)
156 (1-class, standard)
132 (2-class, standard)
211 (1-class, maximum)
181 (1-class, standard)
163 (2-class, standard)
230 (1-class, dense)
212 (1-class, standard)
178 (2-class, standard)
Seat pitch
82 cm (32 in) in (1-class, standard), 76 cm (30 in) in (1-class, dense)
36.8 m (120 ft 9 in)
42.3 m (138 ft 9 in)
46.7 m (153 ft 3 in)
35.9 m (117 ft 9 in)
36.8 m (120 ft 9 in)
11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)
12.7 m (41 ft 8 in)
Fuselage width
4.06 m (13 ft 4 in)
Cabin width
3.81 m (12 ft 6 in)
Maximum take-off weight
72,390 kg (159,590 lb)
79,250 kg (174,720 lb)
87,230 kg (192,310 lb)
Maximum landing weight
61,650 kg (135,910 lb)
69,100 kg (152,300 lb)
Maximum payload
17,560 kg (38,710 lb)
22,600 kg (49,800 lb)
Cargo capacity
31.1 m3 (1,100 cu ft)
48 m3 (1,700 cu ft)
70.1 m3 (2,480 cu ft)
Maximum fuel capacity
20,400 kg (45,000 lb)
Range fully loaded
6,400 km (3,500 nmi)
6,000 km (3,200 nmi)
5,500 km (3,000 nmi)
Engine (x 2)
Max. thrust (x 2)
123 kN
12,540 kgf; 28,000 lbf
137 kN
14,000 kgf; 31,000 lbf
153 kN
15,600 kgf; 34,000 lb

New Generation Medium-haul Aircraft  Performance Comparison
Length, m
Wing Span, m
2 х PW1400G-JM
2 х PW1100G-JM
Maximum Range, km
MTOW, kg

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.
Entering service
1 September 2010
21 July 2010
21 July 2010
VEB Leasing
18 August 2011
23 August 2011
16 September 2011
27 August 2013
30 August 2013
9 September 2015
8 June 2016