Russia Readies Indigenous PD-8 for Superjet Re-engining

 - June 3, 2021, 2:36 PM

Russia’s United Engine Corp. (ODK) has assembled the first engine core of the domestically produced turbofan scheduled to power a reworked SSJ100 without Western components. The completely indigenous PD-8 engine would replace the PowerJet SaM.146, which uses a Safran core and Russian cold sections. It will use technologies developed and tested on the larger PD-14 turbofan, which powers the Irkut MC-21 narrowbody. ODK plans soon to subject the new engine core to bench testing and exhibit it at the 2021 Moscow Air Show in July.

The PD-8 will keep the Russian content of the SaM.146, and, potentially, develop a higher thrust because the new core will feature a 20 percent higher pressure ratio and gas temperature.

Last year, ODK officials announced that gas-generator trials would commence in spring 2021, but they have not started yet. The manufacturer hopes for certification in 2023.

On June 1, Russia’s Federal Air Transportation Agency (Rosaviatsiya) said it held a series of meetings with certification body Air Register on May 24 to 28 in Rybinsk, where the SaM.146s undergo assembly. The meeting culminated with the formation of a mockup inspection committee, which formally accepted ODK’s request for the PD-8’s certification.

In an interview broadcast on June 2, Sergey Chemezov, head of Russia’s Rostec state corporation, said the economic sanctions already imposed by the U.S. and the threat of more have promoted the Russians to speed completion of PD-14 certification and development of the PD-8. Separately, local manufacturers have mastered the manufacture of aircraft interiors to replace those of British and U.S. origin on the SSJ100 and MC-21. “Although the interiors may not look like as something very important or difficult-to-make-locally, the fact is that we have been purchasing them from the West,” said Chemezov. “Soon, we will offer airline customers a Russian completion solution, including materials.”

Chemezov confirmed earlier plans to rebrand the Superjet “because it does seem strange that we call a Russian-made airplane by English names and abbreviations,” he noted.

The SSJ100 has been in service for 10 years. Most of the 208 examples completed, including 12 in 2020, fly with eight scheduled airlines in Russia and Interjet of Mexico, in addition to five governmental and business aviation operators. Irkut has accepted project leadership by acquiring SCAC (Sukhoi Civil Aviation Aircraft) and renaming it the “Regional Aircraft” division.