Could Sukhoi russify its SSJ100 Superjet ?

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Moscow - Washington has blocked the delivery of Sukhoi Superjet to Iran because the aircraft has components produced in the United States.

The U.S. government predictably refused to issue an export certificate for the sale of Russian Sukhoi Superjet to Iran. This is due to the fact that more than 10% of aircraft parts used in the production of Russian regional jet are manufactured in the United States.

The Sukhoi Civil Aircraft company announced plans to deliver 100 Superjet to Iran in 2015. However, in April 2018, only Aseman Airlines and Iran Tour signed for the supply of 40 SSJ100R valued at 2 billion USD.

In May, after the resumption of US sanctions against Iran, the company announced that it would stick its commitment to supply the aircraft to Iran.

The letter R in the SSJ100R stands for “Russified”, which means the maximum number of aircraft parts produced in Russia have been used while assembling the aircraft.

At the Bahrain Airshow in November last year, Alexander Rubtsov, the president of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, admitted that the proportion of American components used in production is 22% and confirmed that supplies will begin as soon as it is less than 10%.

But, reducing the proportion of the US components to the stated level is quite difficult.

The SSJ100 program was originally formulated as a large-scale cooperation project between Russia and the West. It was a deliberate decision of the leadership of the Russian Federation. There are no large components, but many elements used in the production are from the West. For instance, the front door is manufactured by an American company. The software used in the navigation system is provided by a French company.

More importantly, many American critical technologies are used in European components as well. Therefore, it all significantly exceeds the threshold of 10% or even the %22 quoted by Alexander Rubtsov. The US laws permit the sale of aerospace technology to third countries, taking into account the presence of American components and technologies.

Perhaps it would have been easier to design a new aircraft, experts say.

Maqsoud Asadi Samani, the secretary of the Association of Iranian Airlines is also quite skeptical about the possibility of exporting Sukhoi Superjets from Russia. It seems that the delivery of the SSJ100s is now in question, he told Irna, the state-owned Iranian news agency.

After Obama administration removed the US sanctions, Iran's national carrier Iran Air placed orders for 100 Airbus and 80 Boeing jets, and 20 Franco-Italian ATR turboprop. However, since Donald Trump resumed sanctions against the country, only 16 ATR aircraft and three Airbus aircraft were delivered.