The all-Russian Superjet 100, named the SJ-100, completed its maiden flight, marking another step forward for Russia in its attempt to mass produce an all-domestic narrow-body aircraft within the country.
Manufactured by Yakovlev, the subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the aircraft successfully completed its first flight in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia on August 29, 2023, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
“During the tests, the stable operation of all domestic systems, controllability and the stability of the aircraft in the air,” the TASS report continued, citing a press release from the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Two test pilots operated the aircraft, and a test engineer was also on board the aircraft during its maiden journey.
The aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) during the 54-minute flight.
“The first flight of the Superjet, created under the program of import substitution of systems and components, is the success of many thousands of teams of enterprises in the aircraft manufacturing and radio-electronic industries that are part of the control loop of the state corporation Rostec,” said Denis Manturov, the Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, as reported by TASS.
Manturov went on to mention that Russian companies managed to develop their own technological solutions, with aircraft, previously equipped with Western-made equipment, being replaced with Russian “avionics, landing gear, an auxiliary power unit, an integrated control system, as well as power supply systems, air conditioning, fire protection and many others”.
However, the test aircraft still used the PowerJet SaM146 engine, developed jointly by France’s Safran and Russia’s NPO Saturn. Currently, this engine powers the active Sukhoi Superjet 100 fleet in Russia.
The second test aircraft is expected to use Russian PD-8 engines, TASS noted.
Yuri Slyusar, the general director of UAC, said that SJ-100’s maiden journey displayed the country’s ability to develop its aerospace industry without the help of Western countries, and Russia can “can develop and produce modern civil aircraft on our own, without involving imported technologies”.
“The next ambitious task is to certify the aircraft in a completely Russian appearance and start serial deliveries to the airline,” Slyusar continued.
Russia was forced into the development of the SJ-100, with Western countries imposing more and more sanctions since the country first invaded Crimea and used local proxies to occupy Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
After Russia fully invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the Western world isolated the country’s aerospace sector, prohibiting components manufacturers from exporting parts to Russia and local airlines, among other measures.