The Sukhoi Superjet 100 will not be at Farnborough’s display this year due to minimized Russian participation at the airshow. But this Russian regional aircraft can be seen in many airports all over the world, as 130 jets of the type are being operated now by airlines in Russia, Europe, Mexico, Kazakhstan and Thailand. The Superjet 100 celebrates the 10th anniversary of its maiden flight this year while designers already discuss its future derivations.

The deliveries of the Superjet 100 started in 2011. Its manufacturer – Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) – has managed to keep up a delivery pace of 25-30 aircraft annually for the past few years. Thirty aircraft were handed over to Russian and foreign customers in 2017, while SCAC hopes to deliver 170-180 jets in the next five years including those with business aviation modifications.

The Russian manufacturer says it currently holds 36% of the 88- to 120-seat jet market, where the Superjet 100 competes with the Embraer E190 and E195, the Bombardier CRJ900/1000 and CS100 and the COMAC ARJ21. But as the re-engined Embraer E2 enters the market and the CSeries gets a boost from the partnership with Airbus, SCAC is also looking for ways to the increase Superjet’s competitiveness.

The discussion about the aircraft’s next generation has lasted for a few years. At the Paris Air Show last year, the company announced plans for step-by-step modernization, increasing the passenger capacity up to 130 seats. Now the focus changed to the shorter variant. One of the reasons for this is a personal experience of SCAC’s new president, Alexander Rubtsov. He previously headed Ilyushin Finance, a Russian leasing company that was quite successful at leasing 70-seat Antonov An-148 jets to Russian operators.

The development of the 75-seat modification for the Superjet 100 was launched in January 2018. The program was backed by Russia’s second-largest carrier, S7 Airlines, which signed a letter of intent for 50 aircraft with 25 more options.

The new variant is expected to enter service at the end of 2022 or in early 2023. SCAC says it will be designed to operate at the regional routes of 1,500-2,000 km. The new version will not just have a shorter fuselage. The manufacturer says it plans to design a new wing and a new avionics suite. The goal is to reduce the aircraft weight by 10-15% and to improve aerodynamic efficiency by 10% and fuel consumption by 5%.

SCAC also wants to increase the share of Russian components in the aircraft. This will both protect the program against possible political risks and expand export sales. The preliminary Russified version, dubbed SSJ 100R, is expected to be ready in 2020. It will be shipped to Iran where local carriers Iran Aseman (known widely as Iran Airtour) signed letters of intent in April to deliver 40 Superjet 100s. To avoid U.S. sanctions, the designers are now discussing replacing the Honeywell RE220 auxiliary power unit, the inertial navigation system and some other foreign subsystems with Russian products.

Another improvement that will be introduced quite soon is the wingtips, dubbed saberlets. The first flight with them took place in December 2017. SCAC hopes they can improve takeoff and landing performance and reduce fuel consumption by 3%. The Russian manufacturer also wants to expand the aircraft airfield operations to up to 4,000 meters of altitude and up to 50C in temperature.