The Russian civil airliner MS-21 received a wing with the required level of strength. This was reported to RT in the Rostec aviation cluster. Earlier, UAC and TsAGI completed static tests of the caisson, the main power element of the wing. Tests have demonstrated the ability of the product to withstand a load one and a half times more than the maximum possible during operation. Wing for MS-21 is made of composites using vacuum infusion technology. Thanks to this, it has become lighter than its counterparts and has received high aerodynamic characteristics. According to experts, the new wing improves fuel efficiency and increases the range of the MS-21.
The main power element of the wing (caisson) of the new civil liner MS-21 has the required level of strength. This was told to RT in the Rostec aviation cluster following the results of recent static tests, during which composite products were subjected to breaking loads.
“Tests of the wing box have confirmed the correctness of the methods for calculating the strength of products made of composites. It has been experimentally proven that the main power element of the wing - the caisson - provides strength and safety under the most unfavorable combination of flight conditions. All liners under construction will be equipped with a wing made of domestic materials, ”RT said at the state corporation.
As Rostec explained to RT, the MS-21 wing is made of composite materials. This approach made it possible to reduce the mass of the structure, while maintaining high strength characteristics. In addition, the fuel efficiency of the liner is increased. Rostec recalled that today a very small number of passenger aircraft in the world are equipped with a composite wing, among them the American wide-body Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the European narrow-body A220.
Recently, the United Aircraft Corporation "Rostec" and the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute. Professor N.E. Zhukovsky (TsAGI) completed static tests of the main power element of the MS-21 wing. The verification carried out revealed that the caisson is able to withstand a load one and a half times more than the maximum possible during operation.
“At the TsAGI stand, the caisson collapsed under a load exceeding the calculated one. The test was carried out in specially created climatic conditions. To take into account the effect of temperature on the strength characteristics of the composite material, part of the aircraft wing structure was heated, ”Rostec said in a statement.
Commenting on the test results to reporters, UAC General Director Yuri Slyusar noted that the test confirmed "the correctness of the methods for calculating the strength of composite products."
Director General of TsAGI, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Kirill Sypalo said that the institute has created an advanced experimental base, which allows "to conduct a huge amount of testing within the framework of the innovative MS-21 program."
On the black wing
The need to create a wing made entirely of domestic polymer composite materials arose in connection with the introduction of sanctions by the United States in 2018. The task of import substitution was entrusted to the teams of Moscow State University. Lomonosov, "Rosatom" and a number of enterprises of the aviation industry of the Russian Federation. The government allocated 4.4 billion rubles for the implementation of the project.
The first flight of the MS-21 with a wing made of domestic composites took place on December 25, 2021. The car was piloted by a crew of Heroes of Russia test pilots Roman Taskaev and Oleg Kononenko. The debut was successful: the pilots completed the flight task in full, the aircraft's systems worked normally.
In a December interview with RT, Vladimir Gutenev, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Industry and Trade , said that Russian scientists were able to quickly develop new composite materials for the so-called black wing of the MS-21 and patent the vacuum infusion technology, which “made it possible to make a wing of high elongation and improved aerodynamics ".
As Roman Gusarov, editor-in-chief of the Avia.ru portal, explained in an interview with RT, vacuum infusion, or infusion technology, allows you to literally bake airplane wings. The principle of this type of production is that the product is "built up" while in a vacuum bag.
“Our engineers have learned how to bake long wing panels in specially designed ovens. Thus, not only was a wing with a very good elongation and aerodynamic qualities obtained, but it was also possible to drastically reduce the weight characteristics of the product, because it no longer needs to be fastened with a large number of metal rivets, which seriously increase the weight, ”said Gusarov .
The result is a rigid polymer matrix. Vacuum infusion is convenient because it allows you to create any complex large-sized surfaces from composites without spending additional money.
Previously, the infusion technology was successfully mastered by UAC enterprises. This enterprise performs a full cycle of work on the manufacture of a wing for the MS-21. Then the products are delivered to the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, where a site has been set up for the final assembly of the liners.
In a conversation with RT, Anton Koren, General Director of the Center for Strategic Research in Civil Aviation, said that mastering the production of the "black wing" would allow the MS-21 to realize several important competitive advantages.
“The composite wing lightens the aircraft, which significantly improves fuel efficiency and increases the flight range. This is a significant operational advantage. To a large extent, it is the composite wing that makes the MS-21 a worthy competitor to foreign liners, ”Koren emphasized.
In general, according to the expert, the Russian industry has made great progress in integrating composites into MS-21 designs. The share of these modern materials in the liner is about 40%. According to the head of Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, this is a record figure for medium-haul aircraft in the world.
“The use of strong and lightweight composite materials made it possible to create a wing with unique aerodynamic characteristics that are unattainable for a metal wing. The improvement in aerodynamics made it possible to increase the width of the MS-21 fuselage and expand the cabin, which provides new advantages in terms of passenger comfort,” Chemezov said.
At the end of December, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced that the Russian government would additionally allocate more than 61 billion rubles for the remaining development work under the MS-21 project, including import substitution.
The Russian authorities do not hide the fact that the sanctions had a certain negative impact on the MS-21 program. In particular, American restrictions have shifted the launch date for the industrial production of the Russian airliner.
On March 22, during a briefing, the head of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, said that mass production of the MS-21 is planned to be launched in 2024. By this time, all certification procedures should be completed.
“Because any component that changes in an aircraft requires appropriate procedures and tests in order to meet all aviation safety requirements,” Manturov said.
As RT was explained in the Rostec aviation cluster, the MS-21 was originally created in broad international cooperation.
“This is a common global practice. Nevertheless, work on the import-substituting MS-21 has been going on for several years, now this process will be accelerated, ”the state corporation noted.
After the import substitution is completed, modifications of the MS-21 with a capacity of 163 to 211 passengers will be manufactured at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant. The UAC estimates the need of the Russian market for a new liner in the amount of 600 units. According to the corporation, the production capacity of the Russian Federation can reach the level of annual production of 72 aircraft.
The Rostec aviation cluster recalled that tests of the MS-21-310 with the Russian PD-14 engine are currently ongoing . In November, the liner with a domestic power plant was presented at the international aviation exhibition Dubai Airshow 2021.
Roman Gusarov believes that the Russian industry is close to launching large-scale production. According to him, this process is hindered only by certification procedures.
“The delayed start of mass production is forced and at the same time necessary due to the creation of domestic components that need to be certified. There is nothing critical in this. MS-21 remains the most advanced in its class. It outperforms its competitors in a number of ways. In addition, this liner has a huge modernization potential, ”Gusarov emphasized.
According to the interlocutor of RT, despite the fact that the sanctions imposed by the United States postponed the launch of the MS-21 production, the restrictive measures served as a good incentive for the development of the high-tech sector of the Russian Federation.
“Given the political situation, Russia would still have to create a “russified” MS-21. We need to produce hundreds of such aircraft, and in this matter we a priori should not depend on any Western manufacturers, ”summed up Gusarov.