October 17, 2019, 16:16


Russia Switches to Domestic Composites for MC-21 Airliner Thanks to US Sanctions

Russia Switches to Domestic Composites for MC-21 Airliner Thanks to US Sanctions

Earlier, Russian media reported that US sanctions against two Russian tech companies involved in the production of the cutting-edge medium-range jet airliner had cut off access to US and Japanese-made components necessary for the plane’s revolutionary composite wing design.

US sanctions against Russia’s Aerocomposit, a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corporation, and ORPE Technologiya (part of Rostec Holding) have pushed back the introduction of the MC-21 from later this year to late 2020, Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov said.

“In connection with the fact that the Americans have stopped the supply of composite materials, we are switching to our own composite materials. We already have the necessary designs and Russian partners, including Rosatom,” Chemezov said, speaking on the sidelines of the IDEX-2019 expo in the UAE on Monday.

“Testing is being wrapped up at the moment. Therefore, the deadline for the plane’s introduction into mass production is shifting somewhat. We were supposed to have introduced the first of the planes in the series by the end of this year. Now the timeframe will move to somewhere toward the end of 2020,” Chemezov added.

Earlier, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported that components of the MC-21’s wings and vertical stabiliser produced by Hexcel, a US-based company, and Toray Industries, a Japanese manufacturer, had been made unavailable after Washington slapped sanctions on two Russian companies involved in the plane’s production.

Kommersant noted that Russia could turn to composites made by Umatex, the composite materials division of Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, but claimed that the company does not yet have the enterprises capable of producing the advanced materials.

Earlier, amid intensive flight testing of the new plane, Russian officials said the jetliner would be introduced somewhere between the second half of 2019 and early 2020. In any case, the MC-21 is expected to receive certification from Russian civil aviation authorities sometimes this year, with manufacturers hoping to get European Aviation Safety Agency certification by next year.

The highly anticipated 130-220 passenger aircraft with 6,000 km range is already on backorder by multiple Russian airlines, who have ordered 200 of the planes, with carriers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia expressing interest. Once available, the MC-21 is expected to provide stiff competition to medium-range passenger aircraft produced by Boeing and Airbus, with the Russian plane touted as having superior fuel consumption stats, lower maintenance requirements, higher cruising speed, more comfortable cabin pressure, as well as a price tag millions of dollars below that of the competition.

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