[UPDATE – a UAC spokeperson shared this: “We applied to OFAC (The Office of Foreign Assets Control), in order to receive the approval for SSJ100 delivery to Iran due to some American components in the aircraft. However, SCAC is further developing the SSJ100 project and aims at new markets, so SSJ100R is the version with an anticipated increased number of Russian components for maximum efficiency – a number of aircraft systems have been identified as candidates for efficient, maximum value, alternate development. As part of the SSJ100R program a number of certified and experienced Russian developers and manufacturers were invited to take part in the program. First deliveries are scheduled for 2020. SSJ100R is to be the version with increased percentage of Russian components for the existing models, such as basic (B), with the increased range of flight (LR), and with the improved runway performance (B100). SSJ75 is at the R&D stage now.]
Reuters has an interesting article here. “We welcome any (company) which is able to provide the planes needed by IranAir. We even have gone after planes such as Sukhoi 100 or planes made by non-European countries,” said IranAir Chief Executive Farzaneh Sharafbafi, quoted by Iran’s Roads Ministry website. “We will consider plane purchases if these companies can sell planes to Iran without an OFAC license, and are willing to negotiate,” Sharafbafi added. She gave no further details.
No further details necessary. OFAC rules apply if an aircraft has 10% or more US parts. UAC in Russia has been getting ready for this for some time. It is a big market for them and they have no competitor. This is an opportunity that cannot be and must not be missed.
UAC plans to have a US-free version of the SSJ ready by 2021. Thereafter a Western-free version is planned.
At first glance, this seems to be a dream come true for UAC. But time is not on their side. The SSJ100R, as it will be called, requires many upgrades and might require re-certification. It is an open question if the Russian aerospace industry can develop the parts as quickly as they are needed. In a worst case scenario for UAC, the SSJ100R could come to the market as Iran undergoes a political change from within, or there is a big political change in the United States. Such political changes could obviate the need for the SSJ100R altogether. Can UAC complete the SSJ100R within three years?
The renewal of US sanctions on Iran was telegraphed well in advance. UAC should be a lot further down the road than it publicly may appear.