Much delayed short-fuselage derivative programme needs $12m to achieve certification

The first example of the short-fuselage Tu-204 derivative, the -300, is due to be rolled out in December ahead of a planned first flight early next year.

The 160-seat twinjet, which has also been referred to as the Tu-234, is being completed at the Aviastar factory in Ulyanovsk. The first production Tu-204-300 has been structurally complete for several years at Aviastar, but development has been stalled due to a lack of funding.

The much-delayed programme needs around $12 million to get through flight test and certification to Russian AP-25 airworthiness requirements, which are harmonised with the US FAR Part 25 regulations. Being a derivative aircraft, certification would require around 150-200 flights during a six-month test programme, after which the development aircraft will be reworked and sold for around $25 million.

The initial version is 6m (19ft 7in) shorter than the baseline 210-seat Tu-204-100 produced by Aviastar and has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 103,000kg, (227,000lb) and a range of 9,000km (4,860nm). It is powered by the 35,000lb-thrust (155kN) Aviadvigatel PS-90A2, an improved version of the engine that equips the larger variant.

An enhanced version, the Tu-204-500, is under development with a new smaller wing and MTOW increased to 105,000kg. That version is expected to be available by 2005-06. The new wing is optimised for a slightly faster, Mach 0.84 cruise speed, and "is comparable in characteristics with that on the Next Generation 737", says Tupolev president Igor Shevchuk. The design bureau is implementing a programme to reduce empty weight by 2,000kg.

The Tu-204-300/500 will have Honeywell and Northrop Grumman digital navigation systems in place of the -100's Russia-sourced analogue equipment. Versions intended for extended-range twin-engine operations will feature the Honeywell 331-200ER auxiliary power unit instead of the standard Russian-built Stupino TA-12A unit.

Source: Flight International