Snecma is sure it will gain more business from Sukhoi and its partners on the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) family, following confirmation of the SM146 engine selection.

The decision to adopt the 13,500-17,500lb-thrust (60-78kN) engine, which is being jointly developed by Snecma and Russia's NPO Saturn, came after evaluating the engine against the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW800 turbofan being proposed with Aviadvigatel.

The selection of the Franco-Russian engine was first reported in Flight International earlier this year, but the formal memorandum of understanding was not signed until 29 April (Flight International, 21-27 January). At the official signing, Snecma and Sukhoi reached a broader agreement to co-operate in other areas of the RRJ.

"Nothing has yet been decided in detail…we will be studying the opportunities available with Sukhoi," says Snecma president Jean-Paul B‚chat. He adds that "all equipment makers of the Snecma group" could be considered as potential beneficiaries of the deal. These include nacelle and thrust reverser specialist Hurel-Hispano, wiring division Labinal, brakes and hydraulics arm Messier-Bugatti and landing gear-maker Messier-Dowty.

Sukhoi's civil aircraft division is leading the RRJ programme, with partners IIyushin, Yakovlev and Boeing. The first example of the three-member 60/75/95-seat family is due to fly in 2007.

Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan says the RRJ's price should be "15% cheaper than competitors", and expects orders for at least 600 aircraft through to 2020. The break-even point on investment is between 150 and 200 aircraft.

"Studies have shown that there will be high demand for 50- to 100- seat aircraft in Russia in the forthcoming years," says Pogosyan.

He adds that there are already about 30 preliminary orders from Aeroflot and another 70 from regional Russian operators such as Krasair, Pulkovo Aviation, Sibir Airlines and UT Air (formerly Tyumenaviatrans Aviation).

Source: Flight International