[UPDATE: The MC-21 orders that are intended for Aeroflot would be provided under a leasing deal via the UAC’s Rostehnologii. A total of 85 orders are booked of which 35 are slated for Government VIP service with those powered with the PD-14. All other MC-21’s are assumed to be powered by the PW1400G including additional aircraft for Aeroflot.]
Irkut completed assembly of the fuselage of the first MC-21-300 prototype. The next stage will see the attachment of the composite wing produced by Aerocomposit in Ulyanovsk, to the fuselage.
Irkut previously announced it was planning to roll out its MC-21 prototype in 2015 to be ready for the maiden flight scheduled for second quarter of 2016. Russian certification is slated for 2017 with EASA in 2018, which when EIS is also planned. Russia’s Red Wings is the launch customer. To date Irkut has 300 orders for the MC-21.
The first aircraft will use Pratt & Whitney’s PW1400G-JM. Operators will also be able to select the Russian United Engine Corporation (Aviadvigatel) built PD-14. This engine started flight testing on October 24. The 35 Aeroflot MC-21s on order will be using the PD-14.
Obviously, rollout will not occur in 2015. First flight in Q2 2016 also looks improbable. Irkut seems to be following in the delay-intensive steps of other recent brand-new aircraft programs (787, C Series).
I am curious to see how the final product pans out. By the time it enters service, political situation in Russia could have evolved in a better direction, thus opening markets for the MC-21.
Odds on it will be a success provided there are no big technical problems. With 300 preliminary orders they are half way to covering there development costs. After the recent sanctions the Russian Government will make sure Russian carriers buy it simply to make sure the USA and Europe can’t blackmail them re: spares etc. Other Asian nations I am sure will do the same. Nobody in Asia really trusts the old imperialists of Europe or the new imperialist the USA. The one exception is Japan. The main thing now is it at least equals its main rivals. If it can do that it will be a success for sure. If it is better than the older updated Airbus and Boeing equivalents it may prove to be a really big seller in another decade.