Irkut MC-21

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Maiden flight of MC-21.jpg
Maiden flight of MC-21on May 28, 2017
Role Narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner
National origin Russian Federation
Manufacturer United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)[1]
Designer Irkut Corporation and Yakovlev Design Bureau[1]
First flight 28 May 2017[2]
Introduction 2019 with Aeroflot (planned)[3]
Status Flight testing [4]
Number built 3 flying MC-21-300 prototypes (3 under assembly)[5]
Program cost 164 billion rubles (US$4.6 billion)[6]
Unit cost
MC-21-200: US$ 72 million[7]
MC-21-300: US$ 91 million[8]

The Irkut MC-21 is a Russian single-aisle twinjet airliner, developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau and produced by Irkut, both United Aircraft Corporation subsidiaries. The initial design started in 2006 and detailed design was ongoing in 2011, after delaying introduction from 2012 to 2020, the first MC-21-300 rolled-out on June 8, 2016 and first flew on May 28, 2017. It has a carbon fiber reinforced polymer wing and is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1000G or Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofans. With a capacity of 132-163 passengers in two class, up to 165-211 and up to 6,000–6,400 km (3,200–3,500 nmi) range, the standard MC-21-300 will be followed by a shortened MC-21-200. It has 205 orders as of July 2017.


In Russian: МС‑21 "Магистральный Самолёт 21 века" – "Magistralny Samolyot 21 veka" translates as "mainline aircraft of the 21st century".[3] It was called MS-21 in English before June 2013, but its official name is MC-21.[7] The MS-21 is marketed in the West as the MC-21,[9] despite the aircraft's original Russian model name being МС-21, which transliterates as MS-21.

In 2013, Russian deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin indicated that it will be designated Yak-242 once it enters serial production, the name of a 1990s proposal of an aircraft of similar size.[10] In 2014, Oleg Demchenko, the president of Irkut at the time, also preferred the Yak-242 name, claiming it would better reflect the design bureau behind the aircraft, however he have also said that any of these renaming decisions would be after the aircraft first flight and certification work.[11]


Assembly of prototype in January 2016

In 2006, United Aircraft design goal was to seat 130-170 passengers over 5,000–6,350 km (2,700–3,430 nmi) to replace aging Tu-154, 20%-25% more efficiently than the Airbus and Boeing A320 and B737NG competitors with 15% lower weight, 20% lower operating costs and 15% lower fuel consumption, it was due to enter service in 2012 for an initial target price of US$35 million, $20 million below the similar 737-700.[12] The program was launched in 2007, planning a 2016 introduction.[3] Those goals were reiterated in 2008, except for the general efficiency gain lowered to 10–15%.[13]

In 2009, the MC-21 was in the "pre-design" phase, with projected completion of the first prototype in 2013 and the first flight in 2014.[14] By June 2011, the "pre-design" phase was completed and the "working design" stage was under way with three-dimensional models and drawings for subcontractors and suppliers, to be completed by mid-2012.[15] In February 2012, Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin announced it was slated to begin certification tests in 2015/2016 and to enter production in 2020.[16]

Behind Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at the June 2016 roll-out
Video of maiden flight, May 2017

On 8 June 2016, the -300 was rolled-out in Irkutsk, East Siberia, six years after program launch and with 175 orders. It could be the first commercial aircraft with an out of autoclave composite manufacturing for its wings. The program faces domination of the single-aisle market by Airbus and Boeing and Russian protectionism hampering critical western suppliers for the avionics, landing gear, hydraulics, power systems and engines. Its introduction was delayed to the end of 2018.[17][18] It is intended to rival the Airbus A320neo or Boeing 737 MAX and will replace the outgoing Tu-134, Tu-154, Tu-204 and Yak-42.[19]

In February 2017, it passed 90% of the static ultimate load test (150% of the highest load in operation) at the TsAGI but failed the 100% test for which the wingbox will need 25kg reinforcements: this is common for new airliners like the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 or Mitsubishi MRJ, aiming for the smallest possible margin to avoid excess weight; it passed the limit load test (highest load during flight) which enables flight testing which should start in April.[20] In May 2017, it was undergoing systems ground testing including its auxiliary power unit and taxiing tests.[21] Cracks developed at the point of contact between the titanium beam and the composite wing skin in the wingbox.[3]

After completing taxi and runway roll tests, its maiden flight was scheduled for late May 2017 with Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engines, certified in September 2016 in Russia. The Russian certification is targeted for 2018 and the European Aviation Safety Agency certificate for 2019. On 28 May 2017 MC-21 made its successful maiden flight in Irkutsk.[2] Compared with recent 3-4 hour maiden flights of western types, this first flight was brief at 30-minute and low, reaching a 1,000 m altitude and 300 km/hour.[22] The maiden flight was originally scheduled for December 2016, then to April before finally taking place in May.[23]

Following this maiden flight, trade and industry minister Denis Manturov claims it will have 12-15% lower operating costs than contemporaries, generating a demand for over 1,000 MC-21s between 2017 and 2037.[24] Aeroflot expects delivery of the first aircraft through Rostec subsidiary Aviakapital leasing in 2019.[3] Its early production rate is projected for 20 aircraft per year.[25]

In August 2017, the first prototype performed nine test flights, analysing stability and controllability in various configurations, altitude, altitude/speed sensors accuracy and engine operation. Its software is adjusted by the results as it is fitted with over 500 strain gauges measuring in-flight loading on the airframe, to verify the initial design, for "several weeks". A second prototype is finalised while three other prototypes are undergoing construction; production of 70 MC-21s annually is planned for 2024.[26] Irkut began the second testing phase on 13 September with an eventless 2h flight.[27] The phase will extend the mass, centering, speed and altitude enveloppe.[28]


Cabin mock-up in 2011
flight deck mock-up with a HUD

The design is based on the never-realized, twin-engine Yakovlev Yak-242 as a development of the three-engine Yakovlev Yak-42.[10]


In March 2008, Sukhoi was selected to design and produce the carbon fiber composite wings.[13] The UAC subsidiary AeroComposit developed the vacuum infusion to produce the wingbox and wing panels. The vertical and horizontal fins and wingbox are also composite and the high aspect ratio wing is a supercritical airfoil.[3]

The initial design was including ~33% composite materials, increasing to 40–45% with the composite wing. The MC-21 is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a composite structure, a tricycle landing gear and is powered by two wing-mounted turbofan engines. The 3.81 m wide cabin has wider luggage racks than comparable aircraft types.[dubious ].


The 30,000 lbf (130 kN) thrust class Pratt & Whitney PW1000G was selected in December 2009.[29] The Russian engine will be the 8–16 tf (18,000–35,000 lbf) Aviadvigatel PD-14.[30] Its certification is slated for 2018.[3]


In August 2009, Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies, announced it will provide electric power generation and distribution equipment for $2.3 billion over 20 years of production.[31] Rockwell Collins and its Russian partner Avionika were selected to supply the MC-21's avionics.[32] Honeywell, Thales and Elbit Systems supplies avionics with 9 X 12 in multifunction displays, electronic flight bags, synthetic vision and enhanced vision systems The MC-21 will be the first airliner with active sidesticks, supplied by UTC Aerospace Systems.[3] It has a glass cockpit with side-stick controls and an optional Head-up display.

Goodrich Corporation, also a subsidiary of United Technologies, along with Aviapribor was selected to provide the flight control system actuators.[33] Zodiac Aerospace, Eaton, Meggitt and provide other components.[3] Interior furnishings will come from Zodiac Aerospace, coordinated from C&D Zodiac in Huntington Beach, California. Innovations from Zodiac Aerospace in Carson, California, will be incorporated in the water and waste systems.


In 2009, the MS-21-200 was designed around 150 passengers in single-class configuration, to be followed by a 181-seat -300 and 212-seat -400 with basic and extended-range models, plus a very-long-range MS-21-200LR[34]

Standard model, 163 passengers in two class, up to 211, up to 6,000 km (3,200 nmi) range
Shortened version with 132 passengers in two class, up to 165, up to 6,400 km (3,500 nmi) range


Initially a 132-seats MC-21-100 variant was planned but then superseded by the Superjet 100 development.[35] The small variant with a capacity of 130- to 150-seat was proposed with commonality with the Sukhoi Superjet 130.[36]

UAC considers more developments for the MC-21 by 2035. These include: a -400 with 18 tf (40,000 lbf) engines for a 105 t (231,000 lb) MTOW, a -500, a -600 with 20–25 tf (44,000–55,000 lbf) engines, and a -700 with 30 tf (66,000 lbf) engines, as well as a MC-21X with a 155 t (342,000 lb) tons MTOW for a 9,000–10,000 km (4,900–5,400 nmi) km range.[37]


By the end of the 2013 MAKS Air Show there were 175 firm orders including 50 for Rostec subsidiary Aviakapital leased to Aeroflot and 35 more with PD-14 engines for governmental customers, 50 for Ilyushin Finance (10 leased to Red Wings Airlines and six to Transaero), 30 for VEB Leasing (10 leased to UTair Aviation and 6 to Transaero) and 10 for IrAero with an agreement for 20 others leased from Sberbank of Russia, for a potential 195 orders.[38] Transaero bankrupted in 2015.

In June 2016, Azerbaijan Airlines has tentatively signed to lease ten -300s from Ilyushin Finance.[39] By July 2017, it has 205 orders.[40]

Total different than official count because of lessors and airlines orders not distinguished
Date Airline EIS Orders Notes
MC-21-200 MC-21-300 Options Total
21 July 2010 Russia Nordwind Airlines TBA 3 2 5
21 July 2010 Russia VEB Leasing TBA 30 30 60
1 September 2010 Russia Aeroflot 2019 50 50[41]
18 August 2011 Russia Ilyushin Finance 2019 28 22 50[42]
23 August 2011 Russia Rostec 2019 15 35 35 85[43]
16 September 2011 Russia IrAero TBA 10 10 20[44] through Sberbank of Russia
27 August 2013 Russia UTAir TBA 10 10 through VEB Leasing
29 August 2013 Russia Sberbank Leasing 2019 20 20[45]
30 August 2013 Russia Red Wings Airlines 2019 16 16[46] through Ilyushin Finance
9 September 2015 Egypt Cairo Aviation TBA 6 4 10[47]
8 June 2016 Azerbaijan Azerbaijan Airlines 2019 10 10[39]
18 July 2017 Russia VIM Airlines 2021 15 15[48][49] through Ilyushin Finance
19 July 2017 Russia Saratov Airlines 2022 6 6[50] through Ilyushin Finance
19 July 2017 Russia Angara Airlines 2022 3 3[51]
19 July 2017 Russia Alrosa-Avia 2023 3 3 6[52][53] through Ilyushin Finance


MC-21 aircraft family specifications and performance[54]
Variant MC-21-200 MC-21-300
Cockpit crew Two
2-class seats 132 (12J + 120Y) 163 (16J + 147Y)
1-class seats 165 @ 29-28” 211 @ 29-28”
Cargo capacity 34 m3 (1,200 cu ft) 49 m3 (1,700 cu ft)
Length 36.8 m (121 ft) 42.2 m (138 ft)
Wingspan 35.9 m (118 ft)
Height 11.5 m (38 ft)
Fuselage width 4.06 m (13.3 ft)
Cabin width 3.81 m (12.5 ft)
Maximum take-off weight 72,560 kg (159,970 lb) 79,250 kg (174,720 lb)
Maximum landing weight 63,100 kg (139,100 lb) 69,100 kg (152,300 lb)
Maximum payload 18,900 kg (41,700 lb) 22,600 kg (49,800 lb)
Fuel capacity 20,400 kg (45,000 lb)
Turbofans (x 2) Aviadvigatel PD-14[55] / Pratt & Whitney PW1400G[56]
Max. thrust (x 2) PW1428G: 28,000 lbf (120 kN) PW1431G: 31,000 lbf (140 kN)
2-class range 6,400 km (3,500 nmi) 6,000 km (3,200 nmi)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists



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External links[edit]