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Tupolev joins team creating Russia’s next generation jet

Design bureau links with Ilyushin and Yakovlev to develop new airliner family

Plans for the joint development of a new-generation Russian single-aisle airliner are gaining momentum following an agreement between Tupolev and its two rival design bureaux. If the plans are successful, the first of a three-model, 130- to 170-seat airliner family – dubbed the MS-21 – could enter service in 2012.

Tupolev general designer and president Igor Shevchuk has signed an agreement with Ilyushin and Yakovlev over the joint development of the MS-21. The Russian federal agency for industry awarded Ilyushin and Yakovlev an initial contract for development of the MS-21 in June covering the cost of preliminary design, due to be completed by mid-2006, after which a decision will be made on whether to proceed to a critical design review, to be complete in 2008.

The project team includes production plants Aviastar, NPK Irkut, Smolensk Aviation and VASO, as well as lessor Ilyushin-Finance and the National Reserve Bank. There are two potential powerplants being studied. ZMKB Progress, Motor-Sich, MMPP Salyut and UMPO are proposing the D-436TX geared fan and Perm Motor is proposing the PS-12 turbofan. Both promise 7-8% specific fuel consumption reduction compared with the CFM International CFM56-7.

The MS-21 and the Sukhoi RRJ regional jet are the two projects being used to drive major technology breakthrough efforts to restore Russia’s position in the global commercial airliner market.

MS-21 chief designer Andrei Matveyev estimates the airframe would cost around $1.3 billion to develop, with a further $300-500 million for the engine.

Target price for the mid-sized MS-21-200 is $35 million, compared with $56 million for the similarly sized Boeing 737-700. Among the design targets are 15% better structural weight efficiency, 20% lower direct operating costs and 15% lower fuel consumption than that of the Airbus A320.

Almost one-third of the MS-21 would be composite by weight at the time of its service entry, including the centre wing box. This ratio would increase to 40-45% by around 2015 when a composite wing structure is adopted.