Russian state conglomerate Rostec has completed the static testing program of the Aviadvigatel PD-8, the new domestic turbofan engine primarily intended to power the Sukhoi Superjet 100. 

The company said the technical characteristics of the engine were confirmed and the calibration of the control systems was completed.  

Due to sanctions placed on Russia following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia’s airlines are expected to run into trouble because they are no longer able to procure Western-made parts and properly maintain aircraft and engines made outside of Russia. 

“Finishing the static tests of the first prototype of the PD-8 is a very important step in the development of the new Russian engine for the commercial aircraft, first of all, for the Superjet 100 with substituted foreign parts,” the deputy CEO  Vladimir Artyakov is quoted as saying in a Rostec press release. 

According to Artyakov, the next step is conducting separate tests on different parts of the engine, as well as doing flight tests on the Il-76LL flying laboratory. 

The engine, developed by the Rostec’s subsidiary United Engine Corporation (UEC), is a high-bypass turbofan based on the larger PD-14, which is currently under development as well. 

Roughly comparable to the Pratt & Whitney PW6000, the engine is intended to replace the PowerJet SaM146 developed by a joint venture of France’s Snecma and Russia’s NPO Saturn. 

Several Russian airlines operating Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft warn that they might soon have to ground them over the lack of engine service.

The PD-8 has been under development for several years now, as was the SSJ New – a variant of the SSJ 100 with many foreign-made parts set to be replaced by the Russian ones. The aircraft, initially intended to be sold to Iran, has been delayed numerous times. 

However, the new sanctions accelerated its development, with up to 97% of imported components of the SSJ 100 now slated for replacement. Initially, only around 45% of the components of the aircraft were due to be manufactured in Russia. 

Rostec expects to certify the PD-8 in 2023 and start deliveries in 2024. 

There were many problems with the new Russian regional airliner program right from the beginning. One of them – at least according to some – was the fact that the aircraft itself was not really that Russian. United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is slowly trying to change that, but the task is not as easy as it appeared at first.