Irkut to produce two more MC-21 prototypes despite western sanctions

Moscow, Russia - Irkut, the manufacturer of Russia's first single-aisle jet in western standards, plans to add two more MC-21 prototypes to its existing test fleet.

Irkut continues the certification campaign for its MC-21 jet with three prototypes. One more aircraft is expected to leave the final assembly line soon to join the other three planes. It will be used for testing the PD-14 engines produced by the Russian engine manufacturer Aviadvigatel.

The state-owned UAC (United Aircraft Corporation) subsidiary announced that it would produce two more planes for the testing phase of the aircraft before it is certified by international regulators.

Russian regulator Rosaviatsiya is expected to become the first civil aviation agency to certify the aircraft in 2020. European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will follow it in 2021.

MC-21 will need to overcome the production barriers created by the US sanctions which currently prevents the manufacturer to access the supplies that are produced in western countries, such as the composite materials used to produce the wings of the aircraft.

However, the sanctions couldn't stop the MC-21 project, as Russia's state-run aviation industry is working on the replacements of western supplies.

This will make it possible to ensure the MC-21 production’s technological independence from sanctioned products, deputy prime minister Yury Borisov said.

Irkut is already set for serial production. The company plans to deliver the first planes in 2021. The MC-21 has so far accumulated 175 orders mostly from the Russian airline operators.

MC-21 is intended to compete with its western counterparts Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX.

The third prototype carried out a successful maiden flight in March with a full passenger cabin.

The aircraft will make its public debut at the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS 2019), which will be held from August 27 to September 1st.