The Tupolev Tu-334 is a Russian short to medium range airliner currently under development to replace the aging Tu-134s and Yak-42s in service around the world. The airframe is based on a shortened Tu-204 fuselage and a scaled-down version of that aircraft's wing. Unlike the Tu-204, however, the Tu-334 has a T-tail and engines mounted on the sides of the rear fuselage instead of under the wings.
Work commenced on the Tu-334 in the early 1990s, but proceeded slowly due to funding problems arising from the break-up of the Soviet Union. A prototype was displayed in 1995, but this was little more than a mock-up with few systems installed. A functional aircraft first flew on February 8 1999, and later that year, agreements were put in place for MiG to undertake part of the production of the airliner.
Since then, development has been slow due to protracted budget problems. In turn, the certification of the aircraft and its entry into serial production has been delayed, with full Russian certification still not obtained. According to Tupolev, a total of about 100 airlines have so far expressed an interest in placing orders for Tu-334s; and on July 31, 2008, Tupolev Managing Director Sergei Ilyushenkov announced that production was targeted to begin no later than January 2009.
As of December 2006 there are 55 firm orders for the Tupolev Tu-334 from 7 airlines, including Atlant-Soyuz Airlines and there are letters of intent from 24 airlines to obtain another 297 airplanes.Price per unit for the business version is estimated to be around $43-44 million.
One of the customers for the type is Iran and IAIO intends to purchase licenses to assemble the aircraft in Iran by 2011 and manufacture them completely by 2015 alongside Tu-214. It is reported that Iran intends to manufacture more than 130 aircrafts of the types within the next ten years. Reportedly Russia seems to have put a $3billion price tag for the licenses and technology transfer. The production of the type will start in Iran concurrently with that in Russia to ensure that Iran is getting the latest in technology.
There are rumors of an Indian company HINDAVIA building the jet under licence in India.
Published - July 2009
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