In the Works: Sukhoi

 - September 13, 2006, 4:46 AM

Superjet 100–Plans for the airplane known until July as the Russian Regional Jet appeared to have crystallized early this year, when Sukhoi published a schedule that calls for final assembly of the first prototype in November, completion of the static-test aircraft in December, first flight in September of next year and Russian certification in October 2008. However, part of a $100 million deal with Alenia that gives the Italian company a 25-percent stake in the project involves joint engineering, and Sukhoi Holding CEO Mikhail Pogosyan stressed there remains room for design “optimization,” likely including the use of more composites.

In an effort to promote the Superjet in Western markets, Alenia and Sukhoi have agreed to launch a 50-50 joint venture in Europe concentrating on sales and aftermarket support.  

France’s Snecma and Russia’s NPO Saturn, which teamed to build the SaM146 turbofans to power both the 75- and 95-seat versions of the Superjet, expect certification for their 14,000- to 17,500-pound-thrust design in March 2008.

Boeing, meanwhile, still acts as a consultant, while second-tier Russian contractors include Beriev, which has agreed to build certain fuselage parts; Yakovlev, which won the contract to develop wing edges, various hatches and doors; and Ilyushin, which will help with onboard systems and Western certification.

Sukhoi counts firm orders for 30 RRJs from Aeroflot and another 10 from Russia’s Finance Leasing Company (FLK). One-time “launch customer” and member of the RRJ airline advisory council Siberian Airlines has allowed its letter of intent for 50 airplanes to expire.