Tupolev and IFC propose enhanced version of twinjet equipped with IAE engine as stopgap for all-new MS-21 

Tupolev and Ilyushin Finance (IFC) are proposing an enhanced Tu-204 family - possibly powered by International Aero Engines V2500s - as an interim solution to Russia's need for a new-generation narrowbody ahead of the planned introduction of the all-new MS-21 twinjet in 2015.

Designated the Tu-204SM, the new family comprises two models and is intended as a direct replacement for the ageing Tu-154B/M trijet in service with Russian airlines. The proposed development has the support of Russia's newly created aerospace holding company United Aviation or OAK.

The new models, the Tu-204-100SM and -300SM, would retain the same outward geometry as the existing 210-seat Tu-204-100 and the 160-seat -300 "shrink", but the structure would be revised to reduce operating weights and improve efficiency. Tupolev and IFC are proposing that the Tu-204's existing 35,200lb-thrust (157kN) Aviadvigatel PS-90As would be replaced by more efficient, 26,500lb-thrust IAE V2500, which would reduce weight and offer 12-17% lower fuel burn. IAE confirms that "talks are under way but still at an early stage".

The SM's operating empty weight would be reduced by around 6-7t to 52t and 50t respectively, while maximum take-off weight would fall from between 102t and 110t to 93.5t. Range with maximum payload would drop to 3,600km (1,950nm) from over 5,000km. The cockpit will have new avionics and be configured for two-crew operation.

The weight reduction effort centres on the removal of some structure and the replacement of certain metal parts with composites.

A further evolution of the Tu-204SM would see it incorporating a new wing as proposed for the "Tu-204 Next Generation" revealed earlier this year (Flight International, 11-17 April). Developed from the now-defunct Tu-334, the new wing would have reduced span and area, allowing cruise speed to be increased to Mach 0.83-0.85.

It is planned that the Tu-204-100SM prototype will be completed in mid-2007, with certification following a year later and service entry in late 2008.

Although the Russian government's civil aviation development programme focuses on the MS-21 and Sukhoi Superjet, with a small portion of funding to improve the Tu-204, Tupolev and IFC are proposing that some MS-21 funding be shifted to the Tu-204SM to offset the delayed arrival of the MS-21.

Source: Flight International