MS-21 (21st Century Mainline Aircraft) is a Russian medium-range airliner developed by Irkut Corporation and OKB Yakovleva. The aircraft was rolled out in 2016. In the spring of 2017, the start of flight tests is planned. Being a medium-range aircraft, the MC-21 is a direct competitor to the Boeing 737MAX, Airbus A320NEO, and Comac C919.
The history of the MS-21 project began in the 2000s. At that time, the main project of the UAC and the entire Russian aircraft industry was the SSJ 100 – the future Superjet. It was decided to start work with him, since the creation of a rather large airliner immediately, which entered into direct competition with the two most massive Boeing and Airbus aircraft, was considered too risky. In 2008, the prototype SSJ 100 made a test flight. The implementation of the program has reached extreme stages before entering the market.
In parallel with the SSJ 100 tests, early work was initiated to create a new, larger, and more ambitious project – MS-21. The aircraft was developed by the design bureaus of Yakovlev and Ilyushin. The direct executor of the program was the Irkut Corporation, which produces Su-30 fighters and Yak-130 combat trainers. Also, Irkut produces several components for Airbus A320 airliners. In 2008, the Ilyushin Design Bureau left the project, and development in full was continued at the Yakovlev Design Bureau.
MS-21 is a narrow-body, medium-range airliner. Structurally, it is a classic airliner with a low-lying low sweep wing and two outboard engines
MS-21 has one of the most advanced glider designs in the world at the moment. The volume of composite materials used (about 40%) is on par with the Bombardier C-series (about 40%) and second only to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (50%) and the Airbus A350 XWB (53%).
The main advantage and the first such experience in Russia is the “black wing” created from carbon composite materials. Thanks to this new technology, it was possible to reduce the weight of the wing and, while maintaining the strength characteristics, increase its aerodynamic quality. In the short term, the MS-21 will be the only black-wing airliner in its class. Also, tail feathering and some other structural elements are made of composite materials. The wing of the aircraft is designed and manufactured by Aerocomposite. Also in the creation of composite elements involved ONPP Technology (Russian Technologies).
The fuselage is developed and manufactured directly by the Irkut Corporation and Yakovlev Design Bureau. The fuselage is made primarily of aluminum alloys.
The landing gear is classic, three-post. The main landing gear of two racks is equipped with two-wheeled carts. The prospective modification of the MC-21-400 is heavier and, presumably, may have four-wheeled carts. The chassis for the MS-21 is designed and manufactured by the Hydromash concern. Materials, mainly steel and titanium alloys.
MS-21 is equipped with two jet engines of different thrust depending on the version.
It is planned to use two main power plants.
- Double-circuit tube-fan engines of the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G family. The engines are one of the most advanced at the moment and, in addition to the MC-21, are used on Airbus A320NEO, Mitsubishi MRJ, Embraer E-Jet E2, Bombardier C-series. For different versions of the MS-21, different versions of the engines will be delivered: PW1428G with a thrust of 12.230 ts for the MS-21-200 and PW1431G with a thrust of 14.270 ts for the MS-21-300. The prototype MC-21-300 is powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.
- Double-circuit tube-fan engines of the PD-14 family. The aircraft engine is being developed by the concern (part of the UEC). The engine is a completely new power plant and, presumably, will be able to compete with similar power plants. For different versions of the liners, different versions of engines will be delivered: PD-14A with a thrust of 12.540 ts for MS-21-200 and PD-14 with a thrust of 14,000 ts for MS-21-300.
Cabin MC-21 glass. Composed of five large-format multi-function displays (large-format displays in civil aviation of Russia have not been used before). To minimize the work with paper documents, pilots also have electronic tablets.
Operation is carried out using the side control knobs – side sticks.
The passenger cabin MS-21 increases the level of passenger comfort by expanding the passenger compartment and the passage between the seats. The cabin has a width of 3.81 meters, which makes it the widest in the class of narrow-bodied mid-range airliners (SSJ 100, in turn, also has the widest cabin in the segment of regional airliners).
|Model||МС-21||Airbus A320||Boeing 737|
|Fuselage width (m)||4,06||3,95||3,76|
|Cabin Width (m)||3,81||3,70||3,54|
Thanks to the expansion of the cabin, it was possible to expand the aisle between the seats, which simplifies and accelerates the seating of passengers on the plane. Also, this will allow passengers to move freely even in the presence of cabin trolleys (previously, the trolleys occupied the entire width of the passage, blocking the road).
The enlarged cabin also allowed the installation of more capacious luggage racks.
The passenger cabin is equipped with the latest systems and equipment that improves the microclimate in the cabin. Thanks to this, it was possible to reduce flight noise, increase atmospheric pressure, and improve temperature control.
The development of passenger compartment systems is carried out by the Hamilton Sundstrand concern (USA). The interior was created by C&D Zodiac (France).
- MS-21-200 – the youngest version of the aircraft. Holds up to 165 passengers in a single-class layout. With a take-off weight of up to 72.5 tons, it is equipped with deformed PD-14A or PW1428G engines. Since the model is in less demand, the second after the -300 model will be created.
- MS-21-300 – the basic and larger version. The fuselage is extended by 8.5 meters compared to the MS-21-200. The capacity reaches 211 passengers in a single-class layout. With a take-off weight of up to 79.2 tons, it is equipped with PD-14 or PW1431G engines. MS-21-300 is in great demand and will enter the market first. The prototype is a modification of the MC-21-300.
- MS-21-400 is an enlarged version of the -300 model. It has several design changes, an enlarged wing, and a four-post chassis. Holds up to 230 passengers. With a takeoff weight of 87.2 tons, it is equipped with a boosted PD-14M engine with a thrust of up to 15.6 ts. Significant design changes compared to other family airliners increase the program budget and risks. In this regard, the creation of MS-21-400 is postponed.
MS-21 is a medium-range airliner. This niche is almost completely occupied by Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 airliners. It also claims to be the new Chinese Comac C919 aircraft. The market for medium-haul aircraft is the largest in the world – about 78% of all commercial aircraft with a capacity of more than 100 seats are just such aircraft. Besides, over 20 thousand aircraft of these types will be sold within 20 years.
Also, the advantage of the aircraft can be considered its low catalog value in comparison with analogs (although Chinese C919 is cheaper).
|Price||$68 million||$91 million||$103 million||$107 million|
However, catalog cost is only one factor in the selection of aircraft. When concluding contracts, manufacturers offer a serious package of financial options (purchase or leasing options, credit rates, and so on). In this context, Airbus and Boeing’s sophisticated sales system built over many years is significantly superior to Russian and Chinese competitors.
Also, the supply of commercial aircraft requires a large, extensive, and efficient maintenance network around the world. Often, the creation of such a network can be a more difficult task than the creation of the aircraft themselves.
Significantly complicates the market entry is the fact that most airlines have already chosen a supplier. Until 2025, about 75% of the market for these aircraft has already been contracted.
|Capacity||2 classes: 132 (C12 + Y120)|
Grade 1: 153
Grade 1, compacted: 165
|2 classes: 163 (C16 + Y147)|
Grade 1: 181
Grade 1, compacted: 211
|Engine 1||2 x PW1428G traction up to 12,230 ts||2 x PW1431G thrust up to 14,270 ts|
|Engine 2||2 x PD-14A thrust up to 12,540 ts||2 x PD-14 thrust up to 14,000 ts|
|Practical ceiling||11 600 — 12 200 m|
|Flight range||6 400 km||6 000 km|
|Maximum take-off weight||72,560 t||79,250 t|
|Cruising speed||870 km/h|
|Length||33,8 m||42,3 m|