Why is Russia simultaneously deploying the serial production of Tu-214 and MS-21

In early September, the United Aircraft Corporation signed a preliminary agreement to supply Aeroflot with 339 aircraft until 2030. We are talking about 210 of the latest MS-21s, 89 "Superjets" in the localized version of New and 40 actually already veterans of the Tu-214. And here the question arises: why does this agreement provide for the supply of two aircraft of the same class at once: Tu-214 and MS-21 (hereinafter we are talking about the MS-21-310 version), because both of them are medium-haul narrow-body airliners, to also virtually identical in terms of passenger capacity. In a two-class layout, the MS-21 carries 163, and Tu-214 - 170 passengers, and in a single-class layout, respectively, 211 and 210 passengers. It would seem more logical to combine the order in favor of the MS-21 alone, producing an additional number of them.

At first glance, the answer to the question why the Tu-214 nevertheless entered the contract is obvious: the first serial MS-21s will start regular flights only in 2025, while the Tu-214 is already being produced and operated. That is, over the next three years, while the MS-21 is being mastered in the series, it is reasonable to throw all the forces into the production of the Tu-214, and then curtail its production in favor of the maximum serial production of the MS-21. In fact, such a development of events, alas, is impossible.

The fact is that the Kazan Aviation Plant annually produces only two or three Tu-214s. And this is the best! For example, in 2021, only one such aircraft was made at all. Probably, at the current production facilities, it is possible to accelerate the production rate to four or five aircraft per year, and even with a minimum of financial investment, solve the problem of reaching the annual production of ten aircraft by 2026, as officials from the aviation industry say. But, apparently, this is the limit, primarily due to the production capabilities of the enterprise. This means that in order to deploy a larger production of Tu-214, which, by the way, the leadership of Tatarstan advocates, it takes, firstly, a significant amount of time, and secondly, large investments. But are they justified if, at about the same time, a large-scale production of a more modern and efficient airliner of a similar class, that is, the MS-21, is launched?

Why is Russia simultaneously deploying the serial production of Tu-214 and MS-21

Of course, the Tu-214 is an aircraft that has really been tested, worked out and localized as much as possible, but still living out its life. With a similar passenger capacity, the MS-21 has, for example, more economical engines and a much lower takeoff weight: 79 against 110 tons. Its crew consists of two, not three people. By itself, the MS-21, due to the widespread use of composites, weighs significantly less, each of its engines is lighter by a whole ton! That is, at first glance, the Tu-214 has no chance against the more modern MS-21, which means that with the start of production of the latter, this aircraft should leave. Nevertheless, the Tu-214 will have to be left in the production program for the coming years. Because it surpasses the MS-21 in flight range.

At first glance, according to this indicator, there are no special differences between the two machines. According to data on the official website of the UAC, the MS-21 has a flight range of 6000 km, and the Tu-214, according to the official website of PJSC Tupolev, has a range of 6500 km. It seems that the difference is not so great. But what distance are we talking about? For the MS-21, the maximum is indicated, and for the Tu-214 - practical, which, unlike the maximum, is measured with a payload, taking into account fuel consumption for checking engines, for taxiing before takeoff and after landing, for landing maneuvers. That is, 6500 km for the Tu-214 is actually the maximum transportation shoulder. Moreover, in the full capacity version, while for the MS-21 this parameter is indicated for a two-class layout, when there are fifty people less in the cabin. And what is his practical range? I have been looking for this data for a long time and was surprised to find that they are simply not in relatively fresh materials! And there is only in fairly old publications, when the MS-21 was just getting on the wing. These data are seriously different: somewhere the practical range is 4500 km, somewhere - 5000 km. But still, the difference in favor of the Tu-214 is very significant.

It turns out that the MS-21 is a classic medium-range airliner, and the TU-214 is a long-haul airliner, which takes 15 tons more fuel for a reason. The main value of the Tu-214 for Aeroflot lies in the increased flight range. Because this aircraft can be put on a flight, say, Moscow - Khabarovsk, but the MS-21 cannot. There are many such routes in the country that are available for the first and inaccessible for the second, and there is no other suitable domestic airliner for them. Here Aeroflot replenishes its Tu-214 fleet.

But does this mean that it is necessary to invest in the production of the Tu-214, transforming it from piece to serial? Here I can only express my point of view. Yes, so far this aircraft is indispensable on a number of domestic and foreign routes. But he is far from young: the first flight of the Tu-214 took place more than a quarter of a century ago, in the spring of 1996. And the Tu-204, on the basis of which it was developed, first took to the air and did at the beginning of 1989! That is, this aircraft, in fact, is living its life. Of course, you can invest and carry out its comprehensive modernization, say, using the creation of the Tu-204SM. But is it worth it? All the same, there is no more progressive domestic engine with higher efficiency and resource for this aircraft now and is not expected. And if so, then in terms of operating costs, he cannot keep up with more modern liners. Hanging a modern PD-214 under the wing of the Tu-14 will not work - it has much less thrust. In addition, over the past quarter century, materials science has stepped far ahead: lighter and stronger materials have appeared, and composites have found wide application in airframe design. Thus, no matter how much you modernize the Tu-214, neither in terms of efficiency nor in terms of mass will it be able to compete on equal terms with more modern liners. Thus, this aircraft is only relevant as a temporary solution to close the gap in long-haul vehicles.

Temporary - this is until the United Aircraft Corporation has a new modern long-haul airliner. Here, for the creation and implementation of such an airliner, in the design of which it is possible to use both the developments under the MS-21 project and the PD-35 engine being created now, and it is necessary to direct the main efforts and maximum resources.
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  1. mark1 Offline mark1
    mark1 30 September 2022 10: 20
    Hanging a modern PD-214 under the wing of the Tu-14 will not work - it has much less thrust.

    What about the PD-14A variant? And what about PD-18 (hopefully), what about the partial introduction of composites into the structure? The modernization potential has not been exhausted, but the variant with the PD-35 for which the author is a different class (wide-body) with a different weight category, and here either Russian-Chinese or Il-96 2xPD35
  2. Paul3390 Offline Paul3390
    Paul3390 (Paul) 30 September 2022 10: 24
    Interesting - is the parameter of profitability so important for a country bathed in oil? Maybe - if you finally put things in order with the price tags for fuel, pressing on the greedy paws of the bourgeoisie, then Tu is still a normal plane?
    1. passing by Offline passing by
      passing by (passing by) 30 September 2022 10: 32
      An example of Venezuela to help ... they don’t ride like cheese in oil, and gasoline is like water at a price.
      1. HiringXXX Offline HiringXXX
        HiringXXX (Titanium) 30 September 2022 12: 02
        Don't compare your butt to your finger. Venezuela is not Russia. Our equipment and technologies are slightly worse than in the West, but we have our own!
        1. passing by Offline passing by
          passing by (passing by) 30 September 2022 12: 38
          The laws of economics are the same for ALL.
    2. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 30 September 2022 11: 09
      The decision to release both models is correct. The mass release of the MS-21 may bring unexpected problems and delay saturation. The produced Tu-214 needs to be modernized (which happens to all Western liners), with improved performance, the aircraft may become more in demand, because large safety factors were previously laid down (this is the difference in weight). Correctly noted, kerosene and other fuels in the Russian Federation should cost much less (for example, oil-producing countries). Venezuela is a victim of US economic aggression, and as an example does not fit.
      1. Alexey Lan Offline Alexey Lan
        Alexey Lan (Alexey Lantukh) 30 September 2022 22: 04
        Another question is in the modernization of technical specifications: is there a design bureau for this aircraft. Not dispersed, whether it died a natural death.
        1. aero-time Offline aero-time
          aero-time (Aero-time) 4 October 2022 12: 48
          is still living
  3. u-58 Offline u-58
    u-58 (U-58) 30 September 2022 15: 05
    Straight refrain: lives out, lives out.
    Yes, he does not survive, damn it, but gets a second life. And, a long one.
    The author understands in aviation as a hare in mathematics.
    Other things are not even worth discussing.
  4. Vladimir Orlov Offline Vladimir Orlov
    Vladimir Orlov (Vladimir) 30 September 2022 15: 50
    What, exactly, is the difference. The working version and the need of today is TU. And their production must be scaled up. It is not difficult to transfer engineers and equipment from TU production to MS production. Easier than teaching new ones.
    MS is in the future - when and if.
    It will be visible there.
  5. Victor Surname Offline Victor Surname
    Victor Surname (Victor Surname) 30 September 2022 16: 25
    There will be no MC, it has only advertising in its pluses, and the TU is a working option, it is urgent to expand production until the MC matures and the TU is modernized
  6. vlad127490 Offline vlad127490
    vlad127490 (Vlad Gor) 30 September 2022 17: 31
    Why 40 pcs. TU-214, not 100 pieces? What, again, the hucksters hope to drag the Boeings and Airbuses. The servants of the hucksters once again pour shit on the Soviet development of the TU-214. TU-214 is a long-haul liner, the practical range is 6500 km, since it is a development of the Soviet Union, it has a margin of reliability, there are many upgrade options. It is necessary to produce the TU-214 one aircraft per month, simultaneously carry out modernization, make a wing from a composite, lighten it and bring the commercial range up to 8000 km. Everything is real, it can be done quickly and we will have a liner that will fly from Kaliningrad to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk without landing. MS-21 is a short-haul airliner, it cannot be compared with TU-214.
  7. Alex D Offline Alex D
    Alex D (Alex D) 30 September 2022 20: 21
    Lots of plans. There are still old planes, they want to stamp new ones. And who will fly - the population is dying out?
  8. zenion Offline zenion
    zenion (zinovy) 30 September 2022 20: 37
    The more fog, the more loot. Not thirty years in a row, but towards the very end.

    A crow and a cat are sitting on the same branch. The crow croaks, the cat meows, they do not let people sleep. A window opens and a man with a gun appears. The crow asks the cat - can you fly? Did the cat say no? The crow is on the rise, so what the hell were you doing while I flew.
  9. Vladimir1155 Offline Vladimir1155
    Vladimir1155 (Vladimir) 30 September 2022 21: 28
    it is obvious that ms 21 is not today, and not long-haul, and that 214 can be done today ... what about investments in an aircraft factory? I don’t understand the problem, as if the expansion of the plant will not allow it to be subsequently reoriented to the same ms21 or another aircraft (modernized TU214m), ..... and I still don’t understand why the aircraft plant needs some kind of super-large investments to increase production? they make only two a year because there were simply no orders, and there was a banal idle capacity, if this is not the case, then simply hiring employees and using three-shift work gives a threefold increase in productivity, I assume that at least 10 aircraft a year can be done there in one shift, and in three shifts 30 aircraft per year out of the ordered 40 ..... so investments may be needed, but not critically prohibitive, and then the plant can be redesigned for a new model, ms 21 or some kind of 214m
  10. NikolayN Offline NikolayN
    NikolayN (Nikolai) 30 September 2022 23: 16
    It is necessary to look for the notorious "efficiency" not in fuel consumption, weight parameters, but in benefits for the state. Now, when there is no need to compete with the adversary, we need to focus on the availability of transportation throughout the country and the development of the aviation industry. In twenty years we will be able to compete. Without building aircraft, we will not be able to compete. By the way, to the author: aircraft are being built. If Kazan is able to produce a hundred Tu-214s, more than a dozen enterprises in the country will be loaded, not to mention their own plant. Well, the plane can be upgraded, and this is the personnel of the serial design bureau.
    And the cost of kerosene, of course, must be reduced by 40 percent, immediately there will be a tangible breakthrough in the development of the country in all areas. GDP will begin to grow only due to flights, the development of tourism, the development of the infrastructure of the regions by 10-15% per year.
  11. dub0vitsky Offline dub0vitsky
    dub0vitsky (Victor) 30 September 2022 23: 55
    Quote: mark1
    Hanging a modern PD-214 under the wing of the Tu-14 will not work - it has much less thrust.

    What about the PD-14A variant? And what about PD-18 (hopefully), what about the partial introduction of composites into the structure? The modernization potential has not been exhausted, but the variant with the PD-35 for which the author is a different class (wide-body) with a different weight category, and here either Russian-Chinese or Il-96 2xPD35

    I think the article is very clear. Partial modernization will not lead to anything radical. This is the cost of improvements, testing, and fine-tuning after testing. For aviation, this is almost the same as testing a new one. Test programs are in any case extensive and require long periods. For example. test is not reliability. A flight of hundreds of thousands of hours before the first failure. Reliability statistics set. You are not in the know, hence the confusion.
    1. vlad127490 Offline vlad127490
      vlad127490 (Vlad Gor) 1 October 2022 13: 27
      What is faster and cheaper? Create a completely new aircraft? Make a TU-214 with a composite wing and new engines?
  12. And what about the Il-112V aircraft? Something is completely off! Or no longer needed?
  13. aero-time Offline aero-time
    aero-time (Aero-time) 4 October 2022 12: 46
    Tu-214 Feasibility Study for the Revival of the Domestic Aviation Industry.