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Russian MC-21 jet completes breakthrough test flight

December 15, 2020 07:33 PM


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Russia's next-generation MC-21 plane completed its first test flight using a Russian-made engine, state corporation Rostec said Tuesday, after the aircraft's rollout was delayed by US sanctions.

The medium-range plane's test flight from the Siberian city of Irkutsk lasted one hour, 25 minutes, and put "our country back in the highest league of civil aviation", said Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov.

The jet was fitted with a fully Russian-produced PD-14 engine, developed after US sanctions barred deliveries of essential parts for the project to Russia. 

The MC-21 plane made its first test flight in May 2017 and was due to enter into circulation at the end of 2018 until the sanctions forced a delay.

Washington imposed the sanctions barring US companies from exporting products to around a dozen Russian companies in 2018, mainly over Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014. 

The MC-21 is now scheduled to come into service in 2021, as the global aviation industry suffers severe setbacks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials hoped the aircraft would symbolise the rebirth of Russia's aviation industry following a period of economic instability in the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse.

The plane aims to compete with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus's A320 and Boeing's 737 passenger jet.

In 2011, Russia commissioned its first civilian jet after the fall of the Soviet Union, which it named the Sukhoi Superjet 100.

But the plane, which was produced in conjunction with a variety of European manufacturers, barely sold abroad. 

The fleet has experienced a slew of technical problems since it took flight and has suffered several fatal accidents.

On Tuesday, Industry Minister Denis Manturov said the MC-21 test flight illustrated Russia's successes in the aviation sector. 

"We have trained a new generation of builders and workers, and we are seeing the fruits of the labour of tens of thousands of people," he said. 

 



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