Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sukhoi marks first Superjet delivery to Armavia

Sukhoi marks first Superjet delivery to Armavia: "97007 - Yuri Gagarin

Fifty years and a week after Yuri Gagarin first orbited the Earth in Vostok 1, a new Russian commercial jetliner was delivered by Sukhoi bearing his name. The first production Sukhoi Superjet 100 was delivered to Armenian carrier Armavia at Zvartnots International Airport in the nation's capital of Yerevan.

The aircraft, line number seven, has been registered EK95015 for Armavia, which is expected to begin commercial service between Yerevan and Moscow in the next few says once the final registration is approved, reports Flightglobal's Tom Zaitsev.

The 100-seat jet differs from Russian jetliners the industry has seen before with significant western partnerships across the whole of the supply base and aftermarket support network as Superjet International - a joint venture between Sukhoi Civil Aircraft and Alenia Aeronautica - works to bring the SSJ100 to western markets.

The environmental and flight control systems are supplied by Liebherr, hydraulic system from Parker Hannafin, auxiliary power unit from Honeywell, Goodrich wheels, brakes and brake system controls, Messier-Dowty landing gear, Zodiac-Intertechnique fuel system and a PowerJet engine, a joint venture between Snecma and Russian engine maker Saturn NPO.

Additionally, the Thales avionics are grounded on a foundation similar to the Airbus A380, says Superjet, with an Aircraft Full Duplex switched data network (AFDX) and Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) core that exceeds its nearest competitors with full fly-by-wire architecture and RNP .3 precision navigation capability and CATIIIa autoland capability.

Certifying and delivering the first SSJ is a major step for Superjet, though the next customer, Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, is less pleased with the SSJ100 in its current form. Aeroflot chairman and transport minister Igor Levitin was quoted last week as saying the aircraft did not meet the contractual technical specifications promised by Sukhoi and has asked the Russian government to fine the airframer as a result of the ongoing program delays.

How that situation is negotiated between the airline, the government and the airframer is already guided by the inherent political pressure that comes along with the Russian government's desire to grow Sukhoi's position in the global jetliner market, though the near-term challenge is how the SSJ navigates its entry into service, avoiding the struggles of its Eastern predecessors.

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