Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) has launched a major "shrink" derivative of the Superjet – and the variant could be powered by Pratt & Whitney's PW1000G geared turbofan when it enters service in 2022.
SCAC president Alexander Rubtsov revealed to FlightGlobal at the Singapore air show that a launch decision for the 75-seat derivative was made "last week" following a 100-aircraft commitment from an undisclosed Russian airline.
Rubtsov says the programme will require an investment of "several hundred million dollars", adding that SCAC is now evaluating choices around the wing structure – aluminium or composite – and the engines.
The Superjet's current 18,000lb-thrust (80kN) PowerJet SaM146 engine is "a bit too big", says Rubtsov, "so we could detune it or use other engines, either Russian or non-Russian, to optimise the aircraft".
Potential engines under evaluation include the Aviadvigatel PD-7 derivative of the Irkut MC-21's PD-14, and the 17,000lb-thrust Pratt & Whitney PW1200G which powers the Mitsubishi MRJ.
"We are talking to engine suppliers and will make a decision this year," says Rubtsov.
The derivative will use a shortened version of the 95-seat Superjet's five-abreast fuselage married to a smaller, optimised wing. As part of efforts to reduce the weight, SCAC is examining adopting composite for the wing in place of aluminium. It will also update the cockpit, incorporating systems from the MC-21 which could also aid pilot cross-training.
"For marketing purposes, the 75-seater may be called the 'MC-21-75', but it's not decided yet," says Rubtsov.
Because of the strong interest in a smaller Superjet, SCAC has shelved plans to develop a stretch. A larger Superjet variant would take it into the Bombardier CSeries market, says Rubtsov, "and I don't think it is the right time to reproduce the CSeries".