Developed by Irkut Corporation, the mid-range airliner should close the most demanded market segment. The aircraft can be equipped with a choice of the customer - domestic PD-14 engines, or American Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM. As a competitive advantage, it was supposed to use “black wings” made of composite materials, which would give the aircraft additional fuel savings due to the narrower profile of the wings. MS-21 may be the first narrow-bodied civilian airliner to introduce such innovations.
Currently, it is successfully undergoing tests and the certification process with the involvement of specialists from the Federal Air Transport Agency and EASA. Test pilot Roman Taskaev recommended him with the following words:
The aircraft is good, easy to fly, very good at take-off and landing. It is nice to fly on it.
In general, the MS-21 is very worthy. However, it is not enough to develop an aircraft, it is necessary to assemble it from something else, be able to sell it and subsequently maintain it, competing with Western corporations with enormous experience in this. Will this be our next “big hope”, given the unsuccessful experience of the Superjet and US sanctions imposed on the supply of composite materials for the “black wings” of the liner?
Andrei Kramarenko, a leading expert at the Institute, will help us figure this out. economics transport and transport policy HSE. In his opinion, the delay in launching the liner into production caused by sanctions is not critical for him. In business, delays always lead to higher costs, but the MS-21 is more than just a business. Moreover, Kramarenko expresses some doubts about whether it is worth holding onto the “black wings”:
The composite wing is a matter of fair pride for aircraft manufacturers, but the commercial director of any airline does not care what the plane is made of. He’s a kind of “flying Gazelle,” and he just has to work and make a profit, and not demonstrate the achievements of science and equipment.
Composite wings give fuel savings, but the liner itself and the cost of its maintenance are more expensive. The expert draws attention to the fact that Airbus and Boeing, which are toughly competing among themselves, still fly “on metal” in the mid-range segment.
It is estimated that in order to achieve payback, it will be necessary to sell at least 900 aircraft, which means the need to enter foreign markets. Will this be possible, given the “plume of sanctions risks” for potential buyers, and the ugly experience of Superjet after-sales service that the last foreign customer has already abandoned?
Andriy Kramarenko comments on this as follows:
I hope that now everything will be done much better, but foreign airlines will first look at the initial operating experience, and only then will they start a substantive conversation. Plaque and readiness for departure are the most important factors determining the cost of transportation, and the world has already become accustomed to reliable aircraft and well-organized maintenance.
The general designer of the MS-21 project, Oleg Demchenko, said that the company took into account the negative experience of Superjet and is already in talks with component suppliers around the world. The developers of the medium-haul liner promise not to step on the old rake.
In general, according to Kramarenko, even the negative experience of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft will benefit Russia. Modern aircraft industry is the most technically and financially complex industry. Domestic designers will fill up the bumps, imported components will be gradually replaced, after-sales service logistics will be improved. Expect that the Russian aircraft industry in the foreseeable future will supplant Airbus and Boeing, is not worth it. First, you need to learn a lot from the beginning and regain your previous competencies. The same Airbus took 30 years to achieve serious commercial success.