Irkut Corporation, part of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), has completed the construction of the fourth MC-21-300 aircraft for flight tests.
Irkut transferred its fourth MC-21-300 flight prototype from its final assembly plant to its flight test facility on November 28, 2019. “The Irkutsk Aviation Plant, a branch of Irkut Corporation, has completed systems diagnostics of the fourth MC-21-300 aircraft designed for flight tests,” the company announced in a statement, adding “the results of first prototypes testing were taken into account in the aircraft production process.” The three previous prototypes are undergoing flight tests, while two airframes are dedicated to static tests.
The MC-21 is a medium-haul plane capable of carrying between 132 and 211 passengers, a prized market segment. It is destined to replace the Tupolev Tu-154 and Tu-204 in Russia and is built to compete with two best-sellers, the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.
On October 31, 2019, test pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) completed the third flight session of the MC-21-300 certification program. It should be certified by the Russian authorities in 2020. The home-built Aviadvigatel PD-14 engine, due to eventually power the MC-21, is also awaiting certification.
In total, 175 MC-21-300s were ordered. Around a third of the orders were placed by the Russian state-owned carrier Aeroflot. Other customers include Russia’s Siberian, Yakutia Airlines and Kazakhstan’s Bek Air. Irkut also received letters of intent for an additional 160 aircraft. Twenty of them were signed during the MAKS 2019 Air Show. UAC plans to manufacture six MC-21s in 2021 and twice as many aircraft of the same type by 2022, bringing production to 72 aircraft by 2025.