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Sukhoi wins bid to build wings for new MS-21 passenger plane

MOSCOW, March 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Sukhoi Civil Aircraft company, a subsidiary of the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer, will design and produce wings for a new mid-haul passenger airliner, the head of the Irkut company said on Thursday.

The single-aisle MS-21 family of passenger aircraft, due to enter service in 2012, is designed to seat between 130 and 170 passengers and to fly up to 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles), or 6,350 kilometers (4,000 miles) for a longer-range model.

"We have decided that the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft company will manufacture wings [from composite hydrocarbon fibers]," Oleg Demchenko said, adding that a contract would be signed later this week.

The plane is being developed by Russia's major manufacturing companies - Ilyushin, Tupolev and Yakovlev - to replace the aging Tu-154, which currently services some 80% of Russia's passenger and freight traffic, and also the Airbus A-320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.

Demchenko said the Irkut company would prepare a draft schematic design of the plane by September 2008 and announce a tender for the development of engines and avionics for the new aircraft.

He also said the new jet would be 10-15% more efficient than the Boeings and Airbuses in its class. It will have 15% better structural weight efficiency, 20% lower direct operating costs and 15% lower fuel consumption than the Airbus A320.

However, despite these advantages, its target price will be just $35 million, $20 million below that of the similarly-sized Boeing 737-700, the official said.

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