Exactly 10 years ago, on May 19, 2008, the first civil aircraft developed in Russia after the collapse of the USSR flew: a regional Sukhoi SuperJet 100 plane flew off the airfield at a plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The flight lasted a little more than an hour, the takeoff took off during the flight, the aircraft made four passes over the strip at different heights (maximum -1200 m). The landing was successful, the liner was piloted by the senior test pilot of the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SSC) Alexander Yablontsev and test pilot Leonid Chikunov.
Jabloncev noted that “the plane is really excellent” and he is happy that “in life there was a chance to be the first to lift this beautiful car into the sky.”
The first flight was only a step on the long road to the commencement of commercial operation of the aircraft.
“Feelings [after the first flight] were very different. On the one hand, there was a feeling that we summed up the great work that was done by thousands of people and that we are ready to successfully complete this stage of the project, says Mikhail Pogosyan, the former president of the United Aircraft Company (UAC). – On the other hand, there was a sense of confidence that we had envisaged all the nuances that might arise in the first flight. Both the plane and the crew were fully prepared for the task. After the flight, of course, there was a feeling of pride and satisfaction in the result achieved. ”ITAR-TASS 04: KOMSOMOLSK-ON-AMUR, RUSSIA. SEPTEMBER 26. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is being unveiled at the Gagarin Aviation Production Association. (Photo ITAR-TASS/ Marina Lystseva)
04. Ðîññèÿ. Êîìñîìîëüñê-íà-Àìóðå. 26 ñåíòÿáðÿ. Ñðåäíåìàãèñòðàëüíûé ëàéíåð «Ñóõîé Ñóïåðäæåò 100» âî âðåìÿ ïðåçåíòàöèè íà ïðåäïðèÿòèè «Êîìñîìîëüñêîå-íà-Àìóðå àâèàöèîííîå ïðîèçâîäñòâåííîå îáúåäèíåíèå èì. Þ.À.Ãàãàðèíà» (ÊÍÀÀÏÎ). Ôîòî ÈÒÀÐ-ÒÀÑÑ/ Ìàðèíà Ëûñöåâà
How did the project SSJ-100
In July 2002, the Russian Aerospace Agency (the structure existed from 1999 to 2004) announced a competition for the creation of a regional aircraft. Three projects participated in the competition: Russian Regional Jet (Sukhoi SuperJet brand), 72-seat Tu-414 and M-60-70 aircraft (developed by Myasishchev Experimental Machine Building Plant). The new regional aircraft was supposed to replace the obsolete Tu-134.
The winner was recognized as SSJ-100. At that time it was planned that the family would consist of three aircraft of different passenger capacity: 60, 75 and 95 seats with a flight range of up to 3,500 km. Then the media reported that such a decision Rosaviakosmos took because the RRJ project looked more elaborate, in addition, the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft had a serious partner – Boeing. By the way, the agreement on the creation of the RRJ was signed by the GSS, Boeing, Ilyushin and the OKB im. Yakovlev in the year 2001.
Then the media reported that the project will receive up to $ 120 million to launch the aircraft in the series. Andrey Ilyin, General Director of the SSC, reported in 2003 that the cost of designing, commencing production, testing and certification of RRJ is about $ 600 million. 80% of the design work was performed by the GSS. Boeing had to allocate specialists and transfer technology.
First, the RRJ-75 modification was adopted as a basic model, but in the future, based on market requirements and the initial customer, Aeroflot, the RRJ-95 model was adopted in detail. It also became the most popular, according to the materials of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, prepared for TASS. In the basic configuration, the aircraft can accommodate up to 98 passengers.
On September 26, 2007, the aircraft was rolled out – for the first time its exterior appearance was publicly shown. It was planned that the first flight will take place at the end of 2007, then the flight was postponed to March 2008 and later – to May.
“The successful completion of the first flight showed that we had well organized the work on the project. Next, we had to complete the main certification program within two years, organize production and start operating the aircraft. I believe that in general these plans were implemented. Although, of course, without a certain nuance, a program of this scale never fails, “says Poghosyan.
The aircraft received a type certificate in January 2011, a certificate of the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA in early 2012. The first commercial flight was made by the Armenian company Armavia. It is true that in 2013 the company returned the aircraft. According to Poghosyan, the refusal was connected not with the technical characteristics of the aircraft, but with the problems of the airline management – the carrier stopped flights in 2013 due to bankruptcy.
Who uses SSJ-100 now?
The start of sales of the GSS was quite heavy – despite the fact that several supply contracts were concluded. One of the first customers of the aircraft was Aeroflot (a contract for 30 aircraft was signed back in 2005, it financed the first ten VEB leasing). In 2013, Aeroflot began gradually replacing the already-operated SSJ-100 with new ones. As Aeroflot himself reported in 2013, “in order to meet the delivery deadlines for the first machines, the parties agreed on the delivery of the first 10 aircraft in the” light “specification, which will subsequently be replaced by the aircraft in the extended Full configuration.
Moskovia Airlines, which took the plane after the bankruptcy of Armavia, also went bankrupt and did not even begin using the aircraft. Three SSJ-100 aircraft were used in the Indonesian Sky Aviation, but it also stopped flights in 2014. Also at different times, plans were reported to put the plane “Transaero” and “Uteir”, but, for example, the latter was hard survived the crisis of 2014 and had to refuse to expand or update the fleet.
In 2017, Aeroflot, operating by that time 30 aircraft SSJ-100, has signed a firm contract for another 20 such aircraft. Another eight aircraft are operated by the regional airline Azimut, 10 by Gazpromavia, 15 by Yamal, and 9 by IrAero. Also two SSJ-100 aircraft are used by the special flight detachment “Russia”, which provides transportation of the first persons of the state.
In total, according to the GSS, 127 aircraft are currently used, 89 in Russia and 38 abroad. In 2018, it is planned to conclude contracts for the supply of another 60 cars, TSSA President Alexander Rubtsov said in an interview with TASS . He also said that it is planned to produce 35-40 planes a year, more than 50% of them for export. Now produced more than 170 aircraft: according to data for November 2017, the capacities of the GSS was already 169 pieces.
The largest foreign aircraft operator is the Mexican Interjet. According to the latest information, it delivered 18 aircraft from 20 ordered in 2012. Moreover, in 2017 the company announced that it was ready to sign an additional contract for the supply of 10 more cars.
However, the most fashionable are the deliveries of Irish CityJet aircraft. This is the first European aircraft operator. Now the company has only six such aircraft, the contract is concluded for 15 with an option for another 16 cars. Aircraft are used, including, for the transport of athletes. For example, it is known that the first put CityJet SSJ-100 delivered to the last European football championship the national team of Ireland.
Moreover, three cars went for two years in wet leasing – that is, rented with crew, maintenance and insurance – to the Belgian airline Brussels Airlines (part of the Lufthansa group).
For more than 10 years of the project’s history, the vision of top-management of the aircraft family has changed radically. It all started with plans to create a family of three aircraft for 60, 75 and 95 seats with a flight range of up to 3,500 km. Now there is a basic version for 98 seats with a flight range of just over 3000 km.
Since 2013 there is a modification of SSJ-100 Long Range (LR) with an increased range of flight to just over 4,500 thousand km. Also at one time it was announced the creation of an enlarged version of the SSJ-100 SV with passenger capacity up to 120 seats. Also there is a VIP version of the aircraft.
But the main future of the SSJ-100 line is connected with the version reduced to 75 seats (SSJ-75). At least at the air show in Antalya in April 2018, the GSS signed an agreement with the Russian S7 on the purchase of 75 aircraft, the airline promised to take the final decision by the end of the year. In addition, Rubtsov reported that the GSS can deliver up to 50 SSJ-75 to state customers (the Defense Ministry and the Russian-Slovenian SLO).
At the same time, the GSS and the Severstal airline signed a firm contract for the supply of six aircraft until 2022.
“Economic efficiency in operation and comfort of the cabin at the level of narrow-body aircraft are the key advantages of the SSJ100 aircraft, which determine the interest of both Russian and foreign airlines,” Rubtsov explains, the words of which are contained in the GSS release. “A wide range of operational capabilities makes it possible to use the SSJ100 in the unique airports of Europe with ultra-short lanes, in the highlands and hot climate, without losing its capabilities and when flying in the Far North of Russia.”
“Changes in the creation of the SSJ for 75 seats can touch the wing, fuselage, engine and aircraft systems, in particular, it is planned to create a new wing and avionics avionics, unified with the MS-21 airplane,” the Ministry of Industry and Trade said in the message of the Minister Denis Manturov. – The aircraft can enter the market tentatively in late 2022 – early 2023. According to preliminary estimates of experts, the long-term need of the Russian market in such machines can reach 200-300 aircraft, foreign – up to 3000 “.
Not so long ago it became known that GSS is developing a special version of SSJ-100R, in which the volume of Russian parts will be increased to 50-60%. Iranian carriers have already signed a framework contract for the supply of 40 such aircraft.
“It is planned that the aircraft will be produced with the maximum use of components of Russian production,” Rubtsov stressed. “The configuration of the fuselage will remain unchanged, while the total weight of the structure is planned to be reduced by 10-15%, improve the aerodynamic quality by 10%, reduce the specific fuel consumption by 5% and increase the proportion of composite materials in the structure.”
“We will continue to develop the program, both in terms of changing the dimension of the aircraft, and in terms of increasing the share of Russian suppliers in it,” the words of the president of the UAC, Yuri Slyusar, are quoted in the release of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Work is also under way to reduce operating costs and the cost of after-sales service.