Western sanctions on Russia have driven aircraft manufacturer Irkut to retrofit one of its MC-21-300 airliners with Russian-built Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofans, replacing Pratt & Whitney PW1400Gs. Russian technology firm Rostec reports that test flights on the six-year-old airframe with the new engines are scheduled, following initial trials on an Il-76 test bed.
The switch comes some six months after U.S. and European sanctions on Russia that were triggered by the invasion of Ukraine. Besides curtailing deliveries of new engines, the sanctions also denied Russia access to spare parts for Western components. In 2019, Irkut ordered 40 PW1400G engines for the MC-21 program with 20 scheduled to be delivered this year and the balance by the end of 2023.
The replacement Aviadvigatel’s PD-14 is the first modern turbofan engine created in Russia. Ground tests began in 2013, followed by flight tests two years later in 2015. According to news reports, the Irkut Il-76 test bed aircraft has completed some 100 PD-14-powered flights. The certification process is “proceeding according to plan,” said Rostec Deputy General Director Vladimir Artyakov.