New Engines for Russia’s “Indigenous” Regional Jet

Photo: By Katsuhiko Tokunaga/SuperJet International - Sukhoi SuperJet 100, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Photo: By Katsuhiko Tokunaga/SuperJet International - Sukhoi SuperJet 100, CC BY-SA 2.0,

LONDON – Russian regional jet the Sukhoi SuperJet is ready to receive its new homegrown engines to bypass western sanctions on aviation spare parts.

Russia Looks to HomeGrown Engines Amidst Sanctions

Russian aviation manufacture giant Russia United Engine Cooperation (Russian acronym ODK) has completed ground testing of the homegrown PD-8 turbofan. Early reports suggest that the new PD-8 turbofan was seen conducting tests, mounted on an Illyushin-76IL testbed earlier this year. 

The installation process of the new engines on a Sukhoi Superjet 100 by the end of this year. If the test flight goes as planned, the Superjet – NEW (SSJ100NEW) will have a new certification that will be certified in late 2023,  and can possibly enter service in 2024.

However, work on the new engine for the Super Jet and the Beriev Be-200 amphibious aircraft actually dated back to 2020, well before the current heightened tensions between Russia and the West. The designing of the engines was a response to combat supply problems, merely a political issue compared to today’s landscape.

The work started at ODK Saturn design bureau in Rybinsk. Work has been gathering pace since they developed the cold section for the PowerJet SAM 146 that powers the original Superjet. ODK has decided to weld the existing cold section with the new gas-generator that would be a replica of the one in the Aviadvigatel PD-14 that is used on the Irkuet MC-21-310, another narrowbody airliner.

This is done in order to pursue cost and time-saving efforts. The new core also replaces the DEM.21 from Safran African Engines, a French company that jointly worked together with the Russians in 2008.  The first gas generator for the PD-8 was revealed by Saturn at the MAKS 2021 Airshow. 

According to an ODK statement issued on May 11, the PD-8 is “fully functioning” and its “main parameters meet the specification.” The company also released the data of the PD – 8; where it has a dry weight of 1,690 kg or 18 kg less than the SAM.146-1S18, at the same time generating the same maximum thrust of 7,900 kN, a 3% improvement in fuel consumption recorded during the cruising phase of flight. 

ODK also plans to manufacture the PD-8 in several variants with thrusts up to 10,000kN above the successor SAM.146 engines. The new gas-generator will produce a 20% higher pressure ratio and an increase in gas temperature of 100 degrees, resulting in a higher power and increase in maximum takeoff weight. 

The implication of the new engines: 

Yuri Slyusar United Aircraft Cooperation’s  (UAC) CEO explained that supply issues were well identified before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and that Western companies previously limits high-tech shipments into Russia. This allowed homegrown Russian companies to step up their competitiveness. 

The Russian government has dedicated 1.83 billion for the development of an ‘indigenous Superjet AKA SSJ100NEW’, to bulletproof the Russian-built jet from Western sanctions. 

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