The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is dead, long live the Superjet 100! Russian conglomerate United Aircraft Building Corporation (UAC) transferred the shares of its subsidiary Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAS) to another subsidiary, Irkut Corporation, hence the name change.

Irkut is now responsible for two civilian programs: the Superjet 100 and the MC-21. Some of the innovations developed for the MC-21 may also be used in the Sino-Russian collaboration, the CR929.

With this merger, UAC is trying to create a single civil aviation division which regroups Irkut, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and the carbon fiber and composite plane parts manufacturer, Aerocomposit. Those companies should soon see the construction of a common engineering center, according to the Russian media Aviation Explorer.

The measure comes as no surprise, as SCAS was having trouble lately meeting delivery deadlines, while facing engine quality problems.

In October and November 2018, one of its biggest clients, State Transport Leasing Company (STLC), filed two consecutive claims for a total of $7.7 million, as SCAS fell short to complete an order of around 30 SSJ-100 aircraft.

Another applicable engine SaM146, manufactured by a Franco-Russian joint venture Powerjet, shows early wear after 2,000-4,000 flight hours, despite manufacturers’ claims that the engine is designed to work for 7,500-8,000 hours, said sources close to the matter to Russian media Vedomosti.

In November 2018, Brussels Airlines announced that the recurring problems affecting their four Sukhoi Superjet 1000 aircraft would force the company not to renew their lease, opting for leased Bombardier CRJ-900s instead.

But the Superjet is not the only troubled plane at UAC. The second civilian program at Irkut, the MC-21, sees delay after delay. On November 25, 2018, Alexander Rubtsov, president of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (also working on the project), announced in an interview to Rossiyskaya Gazeta that the certification would not come before 2020, one year later than the previous forecast for entry into service.

In 2017, UAC announced it would be going through a massive reform of its operations. The conglomerate aims to be rearranged in four subdivisions (military, civil, transport and special) to support the different programs of its companies more efficiently.

Moreover, on October 24, 2018, a decree was signed that would see UAC incorporated by another state-owned conglomerate, Rostec, within the next 18 months.


Image credits: Alex Beltyukov

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