PowerJet chief executive Michel Dechelotte and Sukhoi Civil Aircraft general director Victor Subbotin signed on 20 January the “final agreement” for the production and supply of the engine for the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ). Subbotin says the contract provides a legal basis for the project to proceed.
In addition to jointly developing the SaM146 engine with NPO Saturn under the PowerJet joint venture, Snecma has also become a risk-sharing partner in the airframe. Sukhoi received its first payment from Snecma in 2003, when the SaM146 was selected for the RRJ.
The new agreement sets out the timetable for SaM146 testing and certification. PowerJet has agreed to deliver production engines in time for Sukhoi to hand over the first RRJ-95 to Aeroflot in November 2008.
Snecma general director for small commercial engines Michel Doublier says the first SaM146 gas generator is undergoing initial testing at Villaroche. In February it will be shipped to Rybinsk in Russia for mating with the NPO Saturn-made fan and low-pressure compressor and turbine to produce the first full engine to enable benchtesting to begin in May. The powerplant will have its first flight on a Gromov LII Ilyushin Il-76 testbed in February 2007 and on an RRJ prototype in September that year.
Doublier says the RRJ “needs help from a well-established company to promote sales” and Sukhoi is in talks with Alenia. The Italian manufacturer is “close to confirming its participation in the programme”, Doublier says.
VLADIMIR KARNOZOV / MOSCOW
Source: Flight International