MC-21 programme moves to modelling and test phase

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Development of the Irkut MC-21 narrowbody has passed from the computer-aided design stage to a solid modelling and testing phase in which blueprints will be selected for construction.

The Russian airframer's president Oleg Demchenko says the development team at the IAZ plant in Irkutsk should complete this work within six months.

"We've already released a working design draft for the airframe," he says. "In August, we'll finish similar packages for major systems. Designers and engineers will bolt them up and conduct optimisation testing."

He adds: "Next year will be the most crucial period for the MC-21 programme. Apart from building several prototype models in 2014, we'll also need to recruit and train personnel ahead of launching serial production."

Irkut says it has purchased all necessary equipment, including the assembly line, to serially produce MC-21s, and will start installing it shortly.

"All in all, we stay on schedule with the project's major milestones," says Demchenko. He is confident that the MC-21 prototype will fly in 2015 and that certification and delivery will follow in 2017.