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    Superjet 100 to become safest Russian airliner

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    Russia's new Superjet 100 medium-haul passenger jet is set to become the safest plane in the Russian fleet of civilian aircraft, a leading test expert said on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, June 18 (RIA Novosti) -- Russia's new Superjet 100 medium-haul passenger jet is set to become the safest plane in the Russian fleet of civilian aircraft, a leading test expert said on Wednesday.

    The Superjet 100 project is a family of medium-range passenger aircraft developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau in cooperation with major American and European aviation corporations, including Boeing, Snecma, Thales, Messier Dowty, Liebherr Aerospace, and Honeywell.

    "In terms of flight safety it is perhaps the most reliable plane among our [Russian] aircraft," said Sergei Chernyshev, director of Russia's Central Aerodynamics Institute. "This claim is based on the preliminary testing of the plane."

    The official said the plane was designed for 80,000 hours of flying time, compared with 20,000 hours common for older Russian planes of the same type, such as the Tu-134 and the Yak-42.

    Prior to certification testing, the plane has to undergo a series of preliminary flight tests in Russia's Far East at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur plant where it was manufactured. The airliner made its first test flight in May.

    Sukhoi plans to manufacture at least 700 Superjet 100s, and intends to sell 35% of them to North America, 25% to Europe, 10% to Latin America, and 7% to Russia and China.

    So far, the company has secured 73 firm orders for the aircraft.

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