The first composite wings made entirely of Russian composites were installed on an МС-21-300 destined to be delivered to Aeroflot.
On July 14, 2021, the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, part of the United Aircraft Corporation, finished installing the left-wing panel to the fuselage of an МС-21-300 airliner, completing the assembly of the first composite wings made entirely of Russian material. The right-wing panel and center section had been installed earlier.
The wing panels and center section are made of Russian polymer composite materials by AeroComposite-Ulyanovsk. “The use of rigid and lightweight composite materials made it possible to develop a wing with a high aspect ratio and improve the aerodynamics of MC-21, which in turn allowed increasing the diameter of the fuselage to make it more comfortable for passengers,” explained Irkut in a statement. “The wing is manufactured using unique vacuum infusion technology, patented in Russia.”
The next stage of the assembly will be to integrate the aircraft systems. The aircraft is intended for delivery to its launch customer, the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot. Deliveries are slated to start by the end of 2021, according to Russian trade and industry minister Denis Manturov.
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 Tu-154 and Tu-204 in Russia and will compete with two best-sellers, the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.
The program has been plagued with delays that the Russian government mostly attributed to American sanctions. Indeed, the MC-21 composite wing production has been quite challenging. Delivery of parts coming from American Hexcel and Japanese Toray Industries to the Russian company Aerocomposit (part of UAC) was abandoned.