MAKS: Irkut adds 82 orders and commitments for MC-21

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Irkut has boosted its MC-21 backlog, signing deals for a total of 62 of the in-development narrowbody during the MAKS air show.

The agreements, supplemented by Sberbank's letter of intent covering 20 aircraft, raise total commitments for the twinjet to 276 aircraft, including 175 firm orders, says Irkut vice-president of marketing and sales Kirill Budaev.

VEB Leasing placed the largest order during the event, for 30 MC-21s. Ilyushin Finance finalised a deal for 22 of the type, while regional airline IrAero ordered another 10.

Irkut also revealed its progress with manufacturing the MC-21. The airframer has passed the critical "first metal cut" milestone, meaning that the first components of the aircraft are now in production, Budaev says.

The programme remains on track for the start of final assembly in 2014, first flight in 2015, and certification and service entry in 2017.

The MC-21's launch customer Aeroflot, meanwhile, has already received and started operating the first full-motion flight simulator for the jet, Budaev says.

One of Irkut's major suppliers also made another major announcement at MAKS. Aviadvigatel, which is developing the PD-14 engine for the MC-21, displayed the first full engine technology demonstrator at the show.

The PD-14, which has been chosen by MC-21 customer Avia Capital Services, is one of two engines selected to power the aircraft - the other being the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G geared fan

Although the PD-14's bypass ratio of 8.5:1 pales in comparison with the PW1400G standard of 12:1, both engines should offer similar fuel efficiency, Budaev says.

The MC-21 mock-up at MAKS was displayed with a Rockwell Collins integrated avionics suite in the cockpit, but that is likely to change within the next year, with systems from Collins and Thales under consideration.