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Sukhoi Superjet 100: output on the rise

Sukhoi Superjet 100Last year, the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company's Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional airliner full-rate production programme displayed the best results and highest growth rate in Russia's commercial airplane industry. In 2014, 34 new production-standard aircraft, including 13 in the LR (long-range) version, were assembled and flight-tested showing a 40% increase over 2013. That was achieved through manufacturing process optimisation, owing to which the production cycle was reduced to seven working days, which translates into the production of an average of three planes per month. In addition, the SSJ100-95LR (MSN 95075) designed for endurance tests was made, airlifted by an An-124 to Zhukovsky and submitted to TsAGI for trials.

Twelve SSJ100-95B aircraft were built for Aeroflot (six, including two made in 2013, entered operation under a contract with VEB-Leasing following the return of six final light-version aircraft to the manufacturer; six entered operation under a new contract for 10 aircraft with Sberbank Leasing; commissioning of two more was postponed until 2015).

Six SSJ100-95LRs were made for Gazpromavia airline. Four of them had entered operation during the year as well as the two flight-tested in 2013; two more out of the built in 2014 will be delivered this year.

Six SSJ100-95LR in the new 103-seat layout were produced for UTair, but due to financing problems encountered by the lessor, VEB-Leasing, in mid-2014 due to the Western sanctions and compounded by the difficult circumstances of the carrier itself, the planes are likely to be handed over to another customer in 2015. Aeroflot (or its subsidiaries) is among the most likely contenders.

Nine SSJ100-95Bs were made in 2014 by order of the SuperJet International joint venture for subsequent delivery to Mexican airline Interjet. Eight aircraft had gone to Mexico during the year, including seven assembled by SCAC's Komsomolsk-on-Amur affiliate in 2013.

Another new SSJ100 (MSN 95061), flown in May 2014, will have been delivered to the Russian Emergencies Ministry in the 19-seat airborne command post variant by year-end following customisation. In all, under the contract placed last September, the ministry is to receive two Superjets before the end of 2015. The other aircraft for EMERCOM (MSN 95069) was assembled in 2014 too, but has not flown yet. It is due for delivery in the convertible version of airborne command post with medevac capability.

Late in 2014, the SSJ100-95B VIP plane (MSN 95009) built in 2013 for Rosoboronexport JSC performed its first flights with passengers. The aircraft was equipped with its VIP cabin interior and certificated in 2014. Its delivery is slated for February 2015.

Late last year, the future of two aircraft (MSN 95030 and 95037) sitting at SCAC base in Zhukovsky since 2013 clarified. The planes initially were intended for Laotian carrier Lao Central Airlines. As is known, the carrier received its first SSJ100 (MSN 95026) in February 2013 and had used it heavily enough before year-end 2014, when it had to suspend its operations due to financial problems. Thus, two more aircraft built for Lao Central Airlines in 2013 remained unwanted. In December 2014, a governmental contract was placed with SCAC for their delivery to the Rossiya special air detachment following relevant modifications. The delivery is to take place prior to late 2015.

In all, this year may see the production of around 40 new SSJ100s with Aeroflot and Interjet as their key customers. In addition, the last of the Superjets ordered by Gazpromavia will be delivered too. Delivery of four SSJ100s in special versions to governmental customers - the Russian Emergencies Ministry and Rossiya special air detachment - is expected at the end of the year.

The Superjet production model is as follows. The Sukhoi's Novosibirsk Aircraft Plant manufactures the F1, F5 and F6 fuselage sections and empennage and deliver them to Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Here, at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant (another Sukhoi affiliate), the F2, F3 ad F4 fuselage sections and wing sets are made and the fuselage sections are joined, with part of the harness and tubing installed. Joining the fuselage with the wing and empennage as well as all final assembly operations, including installation of the engines and all domestically-made and imported systems are handled in the final assembly shop of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur affiliate of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company. Composite parts and assemblies are supplied by VASO plant and the KAPO-Composit.

Since May 2012, the passenger cabin interior in all production-standard aircraft, excluding those supplied by SuperJet International to Mexico and business versions, is assembled at the final assembly facility of the Aviastar-SP plant in Ulyanovsk. Most of production-standard SSJ100s, except the ones exported by SuperJet International and several aircraft painted in the Czech Republic, are painted by Spektr-Avia JSC in Ulyanovsk too. SuperJet International at its Venice base handles passenger cabin interior installation and the painting of aircraft earmarked for delivery to Interjet. The customisation of special versions of the SSJ100 for governmental users takes place at SCAC base in Zhukovsky.

All in all, by early 2015, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company manufactured four SSJ100 flying prototypes (in 2008-2010) and 76 production-standard aircraft (since 2010). Of them, 54 were delivered by January 2015, with 41 being in active use by air carriers.

According to official information released by SCAC in December 2014, its SSJ100 orderbook totalled 192 firm orders, including the delivered ones. In January 2015, Aeroflot ordered 20 more aircraft, while Interjet decided to firm up its 10 options.

(Photo: Andrey FOMIN)

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