Russia to produce new Sukhoi jets

Is airframe production the mark of a successful country? The US has Boeing, Europe has Airbus, Canada has Bombardier, Brazil has Embraer. Even China’s trying to get in on the business with the China Comercial Aircraft Company, even though that’s going to take a couple ten years to get rolling.

Russia’s flagship producer, Tupolev, not unlike their progress as a democratic nation, has been pretty lethargic. Much of their production has been in the commercial sector while very few new aircraft designs have surfaced.

Under a new commercial wing of The United Aircraft Building Corporation (UABC), however, things are starting to turn around. UABC, Russia’s new manufacturing congolmerate (which will soon run Tupolev as well) is now employing Sukhoi Corporation to start production of a new series of medium range jets.

The first, dubbed the Sukhoi Superjet 100’s, are already well underway. First test flights were just complete this week and the company has an aggressive production schedule that includes initial deliveries later this year.

Their plan is to directly compete with medium range aircraft — those like Bombardier’s CRJ’s or Embraer’s E-Jets — but mostly in the Russian market. Reducing dependence on foreign airframe manufacturers (not unlike China’s plans), will therefore make their economy stronger.

Don’t expect to be flying on any Superjets in the near future though. Most of the initial orders have gone to Russian carriers and even then it’s going to be a few years until all of those orders are fulfilled. Until that point, I’m still happy flying on Tupolev 154.