The June 5 signing of a contract for work on Airbus A320 cargo conversion program appears to have restored Russia’s position as a full partner in Europe’s EADS group. The pact could signify repair of relations damaged in 2006 when the German and Russian governments disputed the position of Russian shareholders in EADS.
Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft flew the new Superjet 100 for the first time on May 19 from the company’s main assembly site in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The milestone came some six months after the company had originally hoped to stage the maiden voyage of the 95-seat regional jet, scheduled now for delivery to launch customer Aeroflot next spring.
Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft flew the new Superjet 100 for the first time on May 19 from the company’s main assembly site in the Far East city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The milestone came some six months after the company had originally hoped to stage the maiden voyage of the 95-seat regional jet, scheduled now for delivery to launch customer Aeroflot next spring.
Boeing and Russia’s privately owned East Line signed an agreement to establish Russia Technique at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport for maintenance of non-Russian-made airplanes. East Line plans to invest between $40- and $45 million in the project over the next 30 months. The facility will start work on Boeing 737s in about seven months, according to Boeing.
A day before the opening of last month’s Moscow airshow, Sukhoi, Ilyushin and Boeing signed a series of agreements on the regional jet program proposed in mid-April during Boeing CEO Phil Condit’s visit to Moscow. Dubbed the “Russian Regional Jet” (RRJ), the program is aimed at building a prototype in 2004, certification in 2005 and service entry in 2006 or 2007.
At the end of June, Sukhoi announced the creation of the “new” Sukhoi Aviation Corporation, with the consolidation of a number of design and manufacturing companies, including Moscow-based OKB Sukhogo (the Sukhoi design bureau) and the Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Komsomolsk-na-Amure and Taganrog aircraft plants.
As startling as the absence of current airliners from the Boeing stable was the gaping void created by the lack of any of Russia’s fearsome fighters in the flying display. Many observers felt that the show was the poorer for the lack of the thrust-vectoring wonders of Mikoyan and Sukhoi.
Officials at Sukhoi have revealed next to nothing about the company’s proposed supersonic business jet program over the last 12 months. However, during a joint U.S./Russian roundtable discussion on aviation issues in May, Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan, one of the speakers, said “certain progress” had been achieved during a joint feasibility study with Boeing, not only on the Russian Regional Jet, but also on the SSBJ.
Russia’s Sukhoi expects its Superjet 100 regional jet to fly for the first time next month and likely not enter domestic airline service for at least another year, program officials told AIN this week. That puts the troubled program some six months behind the schedule Sukhoi published last fall.
The Powerjet SaM146 turbofan chosen to power the Sukhoi Superjet 100 finished the first phase of flight testing on the program’s Ilyushin Il-76LL testbed early last month, logging more than 30 flying hours during 14 flights, according to director of SaM146 flight testing Yuri Basyuk.