Russia's next-generation narrowbody airliner, the MS-21, will have a composite wing and empennage married to a fuselage constructed from advanced alloys such as aluminium lithium.

The plans for the aircraft's structure were revealed last month by Aleksei Fiodorov, president of United Aircraft (OAK).

The decision to use aluminium lithium in the MS-21 fuselage means that the share of composites falls from the previous target of 50-60% to 40% of the airframe's structural weight.

Details have also been revealed about the MS-21's design and production partners. The aircraft will be assembled at the Irkutsk aviation plant, which is the main production site of OAK partner Irkut. The plant will also produce the aluminium lithium fuselage sections, a material it has experience with from the Beriev Be-200 amphibian.

Composite assemblies will be supplied to the Irkutsk assembly line by the Voronezh-based VASO plant and Obnonsk-based NPO Technologiya, which are OAK's two centres of competence for composites. NPO Technologiya will supply the composite tailcone and VASO empennage.


The wing will be assembled at VASO, using parts from Technologiya and Aviastar in Ulyanovsk.

OAK plans that the Yakovlev design house and other Irkut enterprises will design the nose and centre fuselage sections along with the wingbox. Sukhoi Civil Aircraft will design the cylindrical fuselage sections, and Beriev the nosecone and vertical fin. Tupolev is responsible for wing leading and trailing edges, as well as tailplane.

MS-21 final assembly will be undertaken in the existing Su-30MKI and Be-200 assembly building at Irkutsk, which will be re-equipped by 2015 when production begins. Su-30 and Be-200 production tooling will be moved to another location. An initial production rate of two MS-21s a month is planned.

The MS-21 family recently underwent some design revisions and is now larger than previously, with the original 130-seat MS-21-100 and 150-seat MS-21-200 being supplanted by the MS-21-300 seating 180 passengers and the MS-21-400 with 210 seats. The two models have a range of 5,000km (2,700nm) and 5,500km respectively.

Source: Flight International