The L-610 shall rise from the dead
The Let L-610 was a flop. Now the Czech turboprop aircraft is set to be modernized and built in Russia. Already one customer has signed up for the new plane.
The Kremlin has been trying for some time to bring the domestic aviation industry up to eye level with Western manufacturers. While the Irkut MS-21 should compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, and the Superjet 100 is already competing with the Embraer E2 jets and the A220, the state-owned United Aircraft Corporation UAC is pushing ahead with the construction of a new regional aircraft with the newly launched Ilyushin Il-114-300 turboprop aircraft.
At the same time the developpment of a second regional aircraft with turboprop propulsion is also underway. Last year, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade announced plans to build a new aircraft based on the Czech Let L-410. The regional airline Yakutia and the Ural Works of Civil Aviation UWCA recently signed an agreement to purchase or build ten of the new aircraft, reports News Ykt.
Sister model already being built in Russia
The L-410 has been built since 1969. More than 1200 planes were produced. In the meantime, the Czech manufacturer Aircraft Industries, formerly called Let Kunovice, is offering a modernized version of the L-410 NG with new engines. The larger new version will be based on the stretched version L-610, of which only eight were built between 1992 and 2006.
The new L-610 is a Czech-Russian joint project. The L-410s are currently produced in the Czech Republic and under license in Russia. The new aircraft is expected to be built at the Russian site. A new production line would not have to be built by UWCA, as the manufacturer is already responsible for the licensed construction of the Russian L-410. According to the company, production will start in 2023.
The original Let L-610. Image: Let/Aircraft Industries
Twice as many seats
The stretched fuselage will double the capacity from 19 to 40 passengers. The aircraft will complement the Ilyushin-114-300, which will carry 60 passengers, in the regional aircraft market. Both aircraft will replace the Antonov An-24 (50 seats) and An-26 (39 seats). They enjoy the reputation of being particularly robust and reliable transporters. However, the more than 50 active models are getting older and older.
For this very reason, Yakutia was the first airline to sign a letter of intent for three of the larger Il-114-300s for its Arctic offshoot Polar Airlines.