Sukhoi Superjet 100
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) is a two-engine regional jet airliner seating up to 108 passengers. The Superjet is of big importance for the Russian civil aircraft industry.
Sukhoi traditionally is a builder of military aircraft, especially fighters, but after 1990, the military market dwindled rapidly. Sukhoi sought an alternative in a civil project, a regional jet to replace ageing Tupolev Tu-134 and Yakovlev Yak-42 airliners. From the beginning the Russian aircraft design bureau intended to meet Western aviation regulations to make the aircraft attractive for the world market. Sukhoi claims a competitive edge over rivals like the Embraer E-jets and Bombardier CRJ (Canadair Regional Jet) in the form of lower investment and operating costs. The SSJ100 also competes with the Antonov An-148 and An-158.
Development of the Superjet 100 started in the year 2000 as 'Russian Regional Jet' (RRJ). Later the project was renamed 'Sukhoi Superjet' (SSJ). The intention was to give it more range than regional aircraft usually offer, up to 4,500 km (2,400 nm), and a comfort level comparable with that of bigger airliners like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320.
The Superjet was officially rolled out at Komsomolsk-on-Amur Dzemgi Airport on 26 September 2007 and on 19 May 2008 it took off for its maiden flight. Deliveries were originally to start late in 2008, but this planning appeared too optimistic. Problems with the development of the Powerjet SaM146 engine resulted in delays. On 3 February 2011, the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC IR) granted the type certificate and almost three years after the first flight, on 21 April 2011, Armavia (Photo: UAC) performed the type's first commercial passenger flight, from Yerevan to Moscow. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified the Superjet 100 on 21 April 2012.
Although the aircraft is designed and built in Russia, a lot of international cooperation is involved in the project. The SSJ's SaM146 is an all-new turbofan engine designed and produced by a specially formed French-Russian joint venture of Snecma and NPO Saturn named 'PowerJet'. A lot of Western equipment is installed in the aircraft, including: avionics (Thales), environmental control systems (Liebherr), landing gear (Dowty Rotol), auxiliary power unit (Honeywell), electrical system (Hamilton Sundstrand) and wheels and brakes (Goodrich). Boeing consultants are advising on marketing, design, certification, manufacturing, program management and after-sales support. Furthermore, the international marketing for Europe, the Americas, Africa, Japan and Oceania is being performed by the Italian-Russian joint venture SuperJet International, which includes Alenia Aeronautica, a 50 per cent shareholder in ATR. The latter circumstance gives Sukhoi access to the ATR support organisation.
The Superjet has a double-bubble fuselage cross section to create more headroom for the passengers and to expand the volume of the belly cargo compartment. The passengers sit five-abreast (2+3) in economy class and four-abreast in business class. The cabin also offers ample overhead bin space.
The design of the SaM146 turbofan is kept as simple as possible to achieve better reliability and fewer overhauls. Sukhoi claims that the engine has 20 per cent less parts than competing engines like the General Electric CF34 used on Embraer and Bombardier regional jets. The blades can be replaced with the engine on the wing. The aircraft is optimised for a rather high cruise speed of 828 km/h (447 kts). It has an advanced cockpit with side-stick controllers like in Airbus aircraft, and it is also fitted with fly-by-wire control systems for piloting, landing gear extension/retraction and brakes.
Sukhoi originally planned three versions: the RRJ-60, RRJ-75 and RRJ-95, for around 60, 75 and 95 passengers. These versions were later renamed 'Superjet 100' (SSJ100), 'Superjet 100/75' and 'Superjet 100/95'. All efforts are directed now to the Superjet 100/95 and its long range version SSJ100/95LR, plus a VIP variant. The shortest version has been dropped, but Sukhoi is considering stretched models seating 115 to 145 passengers and competing with the Bombardier CSeries. The final assembly line is located at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO) in Siberia. Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPO) focuses on component production.
Until early 2015 Sukhoi booked orders for more than 150 Superjets, most of them from customers in Russia and CIS states, and delivered around 50 aircraft. Customers in other parts of the world are Interjet (Mexico), VLM (Belgium) and corporate aircraft operator Comlux (Switzerland). The biggest customer is Aeroflot (Photo: UAC), with 30 aircraft on order and a tentative repeat order for another 20.