A technology demonstrator showcasing the innovations of the enhanced Tupolev Tu-204SM variant will be completed next year ahead of a first flight in 2009.
The Tu-204SM - also dubbed the Tu-204-400 - is effectively a reduced-weight version of the baseline Tu-204-100 incorporating a number of new technologies that will replace the Tu-204-100 as main production model at Aviastar in 2009-10.
"We are working in two directions, aiming at improving the baseline model, says Tupolev president Igor Shevchuk. "The first direction is decrease of structural weight. The second is reducing weight of onboard equipment."
Shevchuk says that as Tu-204SM development progresses, changes will be introduced into the production Tu-204 and Tu-214 being built at Aviastar and KAPO respectively.
Tupolev is targeting a 4-5t weight reduction for the SM, which will feature a series of system upgrades including an improved two-crew flight deck, incorporating updated Aviapribor-Holding avionics, a new Liebherr air conditioning system, a new flight control system, and an enhanced in-flight entertainment system. The slats and flaps will be electrically operated.
Shevchuk confirms that lessor Ilyushin Finance has purchased a semi-complete Tu-204-100 airframe which will be used to showcase Tu-204SM technologies. It is expected to be completed next year and fly in 2009.
Meanwhile, Tupolev expects to fly its revamped Tu-204-500 in 2010, which will be equipped with a smaller, lighter wing to enable it to cruise faster. Shevchuk says that the span will be unchanged but the area will be reduced to optimise the wing for the short-fuselage Tu-204-300 variant, boosting cruise speed from around Mach 0.8 to M0.82-0.85.
The wing will also incorporate weight reduction, partially through the extensive use of composites. Around 18% of the current production Tu-204 is composite by structural weight, and this will increase to 22-25% on the revised design.