Russia's МС-21 jet is now ready for its maiden flight and effectively challenging Boeing and Airbus airliners.
Developed by the Irkut Division of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) group, the aircraft left the assembly plant on April 28, according to Izvestia daily.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has said the test flight is scheduled this month. The country's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev first unveiled the ultra-modern jet in June last year at an aviation plant of the Irkut Corporation.
The MC-21-300 is a modern twin-engine jet airliner capable of carrying up to 180 passengers. It is designed to cater for the gap left by the Tupolev Tu-154 which has been a Russian workhorse for many years but has now been retired by most carriers. The MC-21 will also come in a -200 variant, which can carry 150 passenger. Russian national carrier Aeroflot placed an order for 50 examples, in a major coup for the manufacturer. The UAC intends to sell the jets to areas that have traditionally bought Russian jets - India, China, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Not dissimilar to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families, Irkut hopes to enter a popular global market and has already attracted orders for 175 aircraft, with 100 options.
The developers claim that MC-21 will be faster and cheaper than the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. The Russian jet will have a cruising speed of 870 kilometers per hour, while the competitors reach only 842 and 828 kph. Costing up to $85 million, MC-21 will have a significantly lower list price than its competitors.
The MC-21 is available with either Aviadvigatel PD-14 or Pratt & Whitney's PW1400G engines. Its cabin is wider than the A320, and the construction makes use of composites to keep its weight down.