MC-21 Deliveries to Start in 2019
A. E. Serdyukov (head of aviation cluster, Rostec) speaks on MC-21, a path-breaking single-aisle aircraft launched by Russia recently. The cooperation between UAC and Rostec will make it possible to generate a total delivery supply of the MC-21 of more than 1,000 jets by 2037, he says. The airliner is being released in the most capacious global market segment – today about 15,000 such jets are used in the world, and the total demand for the next 20 years will be about 25,000 airliners. With its performance characteristics, the MC-21 jet will surpass competitors like Boeing and Airbus thanks to advanced technologies and absolutely new components, says Serdyukov.
How much is the production capacity of the company at present?
The creation of the latest Russian civilian airliner, the MC-21, is a historic event not only for Russia, but for the global aviation market in general. Thanks to the MC-21, Russia will significantly strengthen its position as one of the leaders in the global aviation market.
Rostec is the main supplier of components for the MC-21 and a partner of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the direct producer of the airliner. Holdings in Rostec's aviation cluster – UEC, KRET, Tekhnodinamika, RT-Khimkompozit and VSMPO-AVISMA – are actively taking part in the design and production of most of the components for the airliner – from engines and composite materials to components of the hydraulic, fuel supply and control systems.
The Russian certificate will be received by the end of 2017-2018, while deliveries will start in 2019. The rate of production capacity planned by UAC for the initial stage is about 20 jets per year, rising to 70 after the whole cooperative attains full production capacity.
Speaking of long-term perspective, cooperation between UAC and Rostec will make it possible to generate a total delivery supply of the MC-21 of more than 1,000 jets by 2037. The airliner is being released in the most capacious global market segment – today about 15,000 such jets are used in the world, and the total demand for the next 20 years will be about 25,000 airliners.
One of the main products Rostec supplies for the MC-21 is the PD-14 bypass turbofan engine. This is the first fully domestic propulsion unit for civilian aviation that has been created in Russia in recent decades. The second stage of testing the PD-14 took place at the end of May of this year. And we believe it was a great success.
One should understand that creation of a new engine takes twice as much time as designing a jet. Thus, the promptness with which Rostec created a completely new engine (it has been only nine years since 2008) is a good result. New-generation engines have reduced fuel consumption and lowered the level of noise and the emission of noxious substances. Thanks to this, the engine complies with future environmental regulations.
There are reports about Hungary, Bangladesh and India showing interest in purchasing aircraft from Rostec. Can you elaborate more about Rostec's interaction with Indian airlines?
Indeed, some countries, India, Hungary and Bangladesh in particular, have expressed an intense interest in the MC-21. Our ambitions are definitely not confined to the Russian domestic market. Russia wants to and will work to make this jet actively used by other countries. And we see our foreign colleagues showing interest in the jet.
Rostec will provide all the necessary support to build effective mechanisms to promote the jet and service centres. It is vitally important for us that all the systems of the jet produced by Rostec enterprises should receive the necessary service and work smoothly.
Where does the company see itself competing with giants like Boeing and Airbus in the next 5-10 years?
Indeed, this work is being carried out in the conditions of a duopoly of Boeing and Airbus. Despite this fact, Russia has something to offer its customers. With its performance characteristics, the MC-21 jet will surpass its competitors thanks to advanced technologies and absolutely new components, a great deal of which were designed by Rostec's enterprises specially for this liner. The customer will be offered a full-cycle contract on the MC-21.
It is very important that, along with our colleagues from UAC, we are ready to offer not a single product, but a series of them – the SSJ-100 and MC-21. And the infrastructure that has been created as part of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 project will be used for the MC-21 project as well: warehouses, educational facilities, logistics, partners all around the world, after-sales service centres and logistics bases. All the infrastructure mentioned above has been created for both the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and the MC-21. We cannot let the customer receive the jet without being able to use it. We need the jet to fly.
With UAC's plans to produce and supply the IL-114 among the turboprops and the Rostec, UAC and Chinese partners' project to produce a wide-body long-range aircraft, we would be able to offer the customer a world-class series with a full size spectrum.
Do any Indian aircraft component makers supply parts to Rostec? If yes, please elaborate.
Our Indian partners and our company have a history of effective scientific and industrial cooperation in the field of military aircraft. We have every opportunity to transfer this experience to civil aircraft.
Which type of aircraft from Boeing/Airbus will Rostec's MC-21 compete with?
The MC-21 lays claim to the same commercial niche as the Boeing-737 MAX and Airbus A320neo. Its performance characteristics and cost effectiveness, though, make the MC-21 superior to the analogs in its class. The estimated direct operating cost reduction of operating the MC-21 will be 12-15% compared to its analogs and 6-7% compared to their modernized versions.
It is the wing, with its polymer composite materials supplied by Rostec, that will make the largest contribution to improving the performance characteristics of the jet. For the first time in history, this type of wing has been created for a single-aisle aircraft with a carrying capacity of over 130 passengers. Generally, the share of composite materials in the construction of the MC-21 aircraft is over 30%, which is unique for this class of liners.
Rostec's enterprises also manufacture the composite aviacomponents of the tail. The airliner's competitiveness is in the technology of polymer composite material manufacturing, which is distinguished by the significant automation of the process. The amount of composite details in the construction of the jet will be over 30%. In addition, Rostec's enterprises fully meet the need of the MC-21 program for titanium, supply spare parts (chassis) and airborne avionics.
The plane is targeted to the largest mass segment of the airline industry, with a carrying capacity of 163 to 211 passengers. The largest fuselage diameter in the class of single-aisle aircraft allows the MC-21 to ensure new standards of passenger comfort. Due to this, each passenger's personal space will increase significantly, service trolleys will not block passage, and airlines will see a reduction in turnaround time in airports. Installing large windows made it possible to raise the level of natural illumination of the passenger cabin. Comfortable air pressure and an improved microclimate will be maintained within the jet.
How many orders of MC-21 have been placed so far?
The backlog of orders for the MC-21 is currently 285 aircraft. For 175 of them, firm-order (prepaid) contracts have been made, and for 110 more, preliminary agreements were reached and framework agreements concluded. Rostec subsidiary Avia Capital Services is the first and currently largest MC-21 customer. We have signed a firm-order contract with them for 85 planes. Aeroflot - Russian Airlines and Avia Capital Services have already reached an agreement for the Russian flagship airline to rent 50 jets. Several Russian leasing companies have firm orders with deliveries starting in 2020 and are now actively searching for customers. Rostec (Avia Capital Services) can offer 35 aircraft in operational or finance leasing starting in 2025.