Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC), manufacturer of Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional jet, has signed an agreement for delivery of 40 SSJ100s in special “R” version to Iran at the Eurasia Airshow in Turkey, Vedomosti business daily reported, with two airlines – Iran Aseman and Iran Airtour reportedly ordering 20 aircraft each.
Neither the Russian OEM nor its counterparts have issued a formal statement on the matter. However, industry experts believe that if Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (SCAC’s parent) manages to find a solution for replacement of the aircraft’s US-made components and thus circumnavigate the sanctions, Iran may eventually grow into one of the largest markets for the Russian regional jet.
SCAC has one year to negotiate the terms for transforming the LoI into firm orders, as the deliveries are preliminarily scheduled for 2020 – 2022 timeframe.
The new aircraft modification intended for Iran, dubbed SSJ100R (RRJ-95R) will have up to 15% bigger share of Russian made-components (reaching anywhere between 50 and 60%), which will supposedly replace US-made equipment.
According to SCAC’s president Alexander Rubtsov, the OEM has long been working on developing closer ties with Russian suppliers for the program. In particular, there are plans for securing a Russian-made APU, inertial system, cabin interior, electrical and hydraulic systems, and other vital equipment for the “R” version.
The current agreement is not SCAC’s first attempt to approach Iranian market. In 2015 the OEM announced plans to deliver up to 100 aircraft to the country claiming strong interest from local airlines. There were discussions on involving Iranian suppliers into industrial cooperation for the SSJ100 program.
Iran is facing an acute necessity in renewing its aircraft fleet, hindered by political sanctions. However, there are now several contracts in place for Boeing, Airbus and ATR aircraft.
The largest operator of SSJ100s outside of Russia is Mexico’s Interjet, which has 22 Russian-made jets in its fleet and intends to bring it to 30. Irish CityJet has the total of 15 aircraft on order, and has so far received six.