Russian manufacturer Irkut plans to build a new MC-21 plane prototype to test its Russian-made engines.

The first aircraft in MC-21-300 mass production is expected to be powered with Russian-made PD-14 engines. For that reason, the aircraft meant for series production will be customized in order to complete flight tests with the new engines, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, without giving specific deadline for flight tests completion.

PD-14, a fully domestic engine, developed by Aviadvigatel OJSJ, engines builder based in eastern Russia city Perm, got its type certificate at the end of 2018.

Previous four flying models of MC-21 are fitted with PW1400G GTF engines, made by American company Pratt & Whitney. Those prototypes now await certification as base aircraft variants.

“We are not declining the partnership with Pratt & Whitney, and we will not take any measures to worsen this partnership,” said Borisov.

After the ban of American composites delivery needed for the wing production, Irkut set a course for making its MC-21 project more independent. Yet, the ban had nothing to do with the engines, that were eventually supposed to become Russian-manufactured at some point.

MC-21, designed as the first (since the Soviet era) Russian commercial medium-haul aircraft, is expected to complete certification by 2020. The dates have numerously been postponed since 2017, mostly due to the repetitive problems with the wing. After MC-21 test flight in 2017 it turned out that the wing required further modifications, and then, in 2018, the delivery of necessary composites was halted by the US.

Earlier, on February 18, Rostec State Corporation Head Sergey Chemezov said, the MC-21 mass production is postponed till the end of 2020 as the wing is being fully replaced with locally made composites, as reported by RBK media.

"To the first MS-21-300 aircraft, meant for production, PD-14 engine will be implemented. The aircraft modified for the PD-14 engines will be involved in flight tests", said in Irkut press-service to AeroTime.

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The Russian narrow-body airliner Irkut MC-21, boldly advertised by the manufacturer to have a greater economic efficiency than Airbus and Boeing commercial jets, has another barrier on its way to mass production, expected in 2020.