Russia to exclusively use domestic engines for its Irkut MC-21 jet

Russia aims to use only domestically made engines for its Irkut MC-21 aircraft due to the international sanctions imposed on the country following the invasion of Ukraine. 

Irkut, the manufacturer of the MC-21 twin-jet, will now only use the indigenously made PD-14 high-bypass turbofan engine, which is developed by Russian company UEC-Aviadvigatel, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister of Russia for Defense and Space Industry Yuri Borisov told the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti on March 31, 2022  

In 2009, Irkut Corporation initially selected the US aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to supply the MC-21 aircraft with PW1000G-JM turbofan engines. Later that year the country decided to have both internal and external suppliers for the engine to secure flexibility in controlling rate and price. Thus, UEC-Aviadvigatel was involved in the MC-21 project and started developing the PD-14.  

Facing the toughest international sanctions in its history due to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia decided to accelerate the development of its domestically manufactured commercial single-aisle aircraft Irkut MC-21. 

With now both the United States and the European Union applying sanctions on Russia due to its military actions in Ukraine, the US-made engines are no longer available for Russian plane manufacturers. Consequently, UEC-Aviadvigatel will need to expand its facilities to be able to increase the production output of the PD-14, Borisov was cited as saying. 

The MC-21 is a medium-range aircraft, which development program was launched in 2007 and which performed its maiden flight in 2017. In December 2020, the plane took off for the first time with domestically built PD-14 engines. 

According to Irkut Corporation, the MC-21-300 twinjet can fly up to 163 passengers on board in a two-class configuration or up to 211 travelers in a single-class with a range up to 6,400 kilometers (3,500 nautical miles) without a refueling stop. The aircraft is a Russian-made rival for such models as the European-made Airbus A320neo family, the US-made Boeing 737 MAX, or even Brazil’s Embraer E-Jet E2.  

Before Russia started the war in Ukraine, Irkut was expecting to deliver the first MC-21s to its domestic customers in 2022 and start the first deliveries to international airlines in 2025. 

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