Why Russia Created The PD-14 Engine For MC-21

The Aviadvigatel PD-14 is the first turbofan jet engine created in modern Russia. There are high hopes for the product as it prepares to hit the skies with the Irkut MC-21 this decade. However, why was the engine built? Let’s take a look.

PD-14 MC-21
With the PD-14’s durable titanium and nickel alloys, operating costs are assumed to be up to 17% less than similar engines, while the life cycle cost is expected to be 15-20% lower. Photo: Getty Images

Three decades in the making

MC-21-300s equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines were already being tested under a certification program in accordance with Russian and European standards. However, the aircraft also started being tested with PD-14 engines, which cleared emission tests set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) earlier this year.

With this momentum, Rostec, the powerhouse behind Russia’s aviation scene, is keen to highlight the abilities of its homegrown engine. Notably, the last project of its kind was the fourth-generation PS-90A engine, built in the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

The inspiration to create a new generation engine began in the 1990s. Even back then, Russia was keen to connect its industries with homegrown products.

After years of preliminary research initiated by the country’s domestic engine groups, an agreement was signed in 2008 to create the PD-14. This name represents the Russian word perspektivnyi dvigatel and a thrust of 14 tons. Thus, UEC-Aviadvigatel and UEC-Perm Engine joined together to lead the development and manufacturing of the engine.

Russia hopes to become more self-reliant with initiatives such as the PD-14 engine. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

Ground testing began nine years ago before flight tests started in 2015. There was then a major breakthrough in 2018 when Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsiya issued it a type certificate. Following this, the PD-14 passed additional tests in relation to restrictions on smoke and emissions of “non-volatile particles.”

MC-21 Jet
The MC-21 will be offered in American and Russian engines, with the latter to be prioritized for domestic fleets. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

Medium-range opportunities

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the engine. Notably, Russia’s aviation industry has full faith in it to fit it on its major upcoming narrowbody aircraft.

“PD-14 engine was developed for the next-generation Russian airliner MS-21-310, the “Mainline aircraft of the 21st century”. It belongs to the most massive segment of passenger aircraft: short-to-medium-haul narrow-body airliners. MS-21 is a future generation aircraft that combines advanced aerodynamics, modern materials, a highly efficient power plant and advanced control systems, as well as new solutions for passenger comfort,” Rostec states.

“Design on the aircraft was carried out in parallel with the development of the engine. As other promising models of domestic and joint production like Il-114, SSJ100 and CR929, MS-21 aircraft can provide the Russian aviation industry with comprehensive presence in the global civilian aircraft market. According to experts’ forecasts, MS-21 can take from 5 to 10% of the world market in its segment.”

MC-21 Tail
The MC-21 will enter service next year. Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

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Offering a balance

Altogether, the MC-21 is looking to compete against the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families on short and medium-haul services. With it coming in two engine options, Rostec is able to diversify its markets.

What are your thoughts about the PD-14 engine? How do you feel it compares with its competitors across the globe? Let us know what you think of the product and its prospects in the comment section.