Siberian plant Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Organisation (NAPO) has been selected as the main site for production of the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) family. NAPO is a sister company of RRJ programme leader Sukhoi. Other RRJ partners include Russia's Ilyushin and Yakovlev, and Boeing. In March, the programme won the Rosavia-kosmos tender for state funding (Flight International, 18-24 March).

Based in Novosibirsk, central Siberia, NAPO is being transformed from a unitary state enterprise to a joint-stock company as a first step of its integration into the AVPK Sukhoi holding company. All its shares are held by the Russian government, but may be later distributed to commercial investors.

NAPO general director Aleksandr Bobryshev says preparations for RRJ production will start this year, to enable first metal to be cut in 2004 and first flight of the prototype in 2005. Series production would start in 2006, with first delivery in early 2007. The basic 75-seat RRJ-75 will be first off the line, then the 60-seat RRJ-60 and 95-seat RRJ-95. Unit price is expected to be in the $30-35 million range. Sukhoi sees a market for 630 aircraft by 2022, including 150 for Russian airlines.

AVPK Sukhoi is yet to decide whether the RRJ assembly line will be located away from the military aircraft production facilities. NAPO has set up an assembly line for the Su-27IB (Su-32/Su-34) strike aircraft and continues upgrade work on Su-24 fighter-bombers, but a lack of orders may bring about the end of military production.

Source: Flight International