Sukhoi eyes authorization for stretched Superjet

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Sukhoi Civil Aircraft expects to receive authorization to offer a stretched version of the Superjet 100 regional jet in the near-term.

The company's PowerJet SaM146-powered Superjet 100-95 SSJ made its maiden flight on 19 May 2008, and is expected to receive type certification from Russian authorities at the end of 2009, at which point it will enter service with launch customer Aeroflot.

But studies are underway concerning the trade-off in performance characteristics between this baseline model and a larger 115- to 120-seat aircraft, says Alessandro Franzoni, CEO of Superjet International, the Venice-based Sukhoi-Alenia joint venture responsible for marketing the in-development aircraft family.

Those studies should be completed within months, he says.

Previous ground trials of the SSJ's PowerJet SaM146 confirmed that the engine could power a 120-seat stretched model. Franzoni says this commonality is important to the firm.

He says the company would not be interested in a new engine design for the stretched variant, such as the geared turbofan that will power Bombardier's 110/130-seat CSeries aircraft. "It doesn't fit with the family concept we've advertised," says Franzoni.