Thirty-seat twin turboprop's rugged design aimed for use in harsh environments

Sukhoi is seeking to boost the fortunes of its Su-80 regional turboprop through a leasing package involving Russian lessor Finance-Leasing (FLK).

Powered by the General Electric CT7-9B, the Su-80 - previously designated S-80 - is a 30-seat twin turboprop configured with a high wing, twin-boom tail, and large loading ramp in the rear fuselage. Its rugged design enables it to operate in harsh environments.

The FLK leasing package is aimed at Siberian and Russian far east carriers, and should be ready by year-end. It will be based on a sticker price of $6 million for the standard quick-change version.

Su-80 production is undertaken by Sukhoi's KnAAPO factory in Komsomolsk-na-Amure in eastern Siberia. Since the prototype flew in September 2001, it has amassed 50h in 36 sorties to assess aerodynamics, handling qualities, avionics and systems. Sukhoi will submit the Su-80 for Russian AP-25 certification early next year, although the target certification date has slipped from 2004 to the first quarter of 2005.

Three Su-80s will be involved in the flight-test programme, after which they will enter service with KnAAPO's own airline. The second prototype, which is in final assembly, will be instrumented for certification tests, and is due to start flight-testing late this year. This aircraft is built to production standard with a fuselage 1.4m (4ft 6in) longer than the first prototype, and is intended for high-angle-of-attack trials.

The third Su-80, which will undertake climatic tests, will be configured as a commercial Su-80GP with a quick-change passenger/cargo cabin seating 30 passengers and increased fuel capacity to give it a range of 1,800km (970nm) with full passenger load. It will be equipped with a Sukhoi/Elektroavtomatika cockpit featuring five 150 x 200mm (6 x 8in) liquid-crystal displays.

Russia's regional airliner market is forecast at 350-500 aircraft through to 2015, and Sukhoi aims to capture up to 40% of it with the Su-80. Military versions are also proposed, for which a market of 800 units is estimated. Twenty Russian airlines - mostly small Siberian carriers - have expressed interest in 64 Su-80s.

The administration of Russia's far east, where KnAAPO is based, has promised budgetary donations to airlines that operate the Su-80 on routes linking major airports with key destinations in the region.

Source: Flight International