|MC-21 passenger plane|
Medvedev is pictured sitting in the aircraft that Russian officials hope will rival western companies such as Airbus and Boeing
Russia has unveiled a new medium-range passenger plane that it hopes will rival Airbus and Boeing models.
In a glitzy ceremony at a factory in Siberia attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Irkut Corporation rolled out its new MC-21 passenger plane, which is still undergoing testing but is due to enter serial production next year.
The plane is sometimes also known as MS-21.
Medvedev hailed the new twin-engine short and medium-range aircraft as 'cool,' saying it was important that Russia remained in what he called the top league of aircraft makers despite the high costs involved.
Squeezed by Western sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis, the Russian government is trying to rejuvenate domestic industrial production to make the country less dependent on foreign firms, such as Boeing and Airbus.
Prime minister Medvedev hailed the new twin-engine short and medium-range aircraft as 'cool'
Squeezed by Western sanctions over its role in the Ukraine crisis, the Russian government is trying to rejuvenate domestic industrial production
'I only want to say that I am absolutely certain that the airliner will be the pride of Russian civil aviation, and that our citizens and foreign people will take pleasure in flights on MC-21,' said Medvedev.
The plane will be built in two variants, the MC-21-300, which will have 160 to 211 seats, and the MC-21-200, which will have 130 to 165 seats. Deliveries are expected to start in 2018 and state media said numerous contracts with domestic and foreign carriers had already been agreed.
State-controlled United Aircraft Corporation, of which Irkut is a subsidiary, said the new plane would be able to service routes of up to 3,976.78 miles and that its operational costs would be up to 15 per cent cheaper than current generation aircraft.
Vladimir Valkov, vice president of Irkut Corporation, said: 'It is not made of metal, it is made of composite materials. That allows us to give it a special shape. It is much lighter and stronger so it is a great step in the development of our aviation industry.'
Plane will be built in two variants, the MC-21-300 with 160 to 211 seats, and the MC-21-200 with 130 to 165 seats. dailymail