Irkut, is to build an additional flying prototype of its MC-21-300 airliner to be used exclusively for flight testing the Russian-built PD-14 turbofan engine, the second option for the advanced narrow-body.

The first four prototypes have been allocated Pratt & Whitney PW1400G GTF engines and will serve as the base versions of the airliner.

To test the PD-14, Irkut will modify the first serially built MC-21, the company revealed on 26 February. Assembly is scheduled to be completed by late 2019 or early 2020. No time-frame for the PD-14 equipped flight tests has been released.

Irkut and the engine manufacturer UEC-Perm Motors signed the contract for the delivery of the PD-14 for testing in January 2018, assuming the engines would follow a few months later. At the time, Irkut planned for the maiden flight to occur in 2019, in order to allow a 2021 certification time-frame. The engine achieved its type certification in late 2018.

Currently there are two prototype MC-21-300s powered with PW1400G GTFs being tested. The third and fourth prototypes are scheduled to join in March and July. The original plan was for one of these aircraft to be modified for the PD-14, but Irkut has now abandoned this idea in order not to delay the certification procedure any further.

Despite current US political sanctions interfering with the delivery of materials for the composite wings of the MC-21, Irkut appears to be in no hurry to reject the PW1400G in favour of the PD-14, or its ongoing partnership with Pratt & Whitney.

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