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Frigate Ecojet (Фрегат Экоджет)

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Frigate Ecojet (Фрегат Экоджет)

The Frigate Ecojet or Фрегат Экоджет is new a design concept that has its beginnings back in 1991. Initially, it was to be known as the Tupolev TU-304 but as of 2004, a new sub-bureau under Tupolev was formed. The  JSC “Russian Avia Consortium” Corp.

The target for the new Frigate Ecojet design is to fill a gap in the market in the short to medium haul 250 to 350 passenger range. Marketing researched showed that when airlines needed higher capacity on these non-long-haul routes they were obliged to use long haul airliners such as the Boeing 777, Airbus A330 etc. This use of long haul airliners imposed a penalty of lifting extra weight for no benefit.  There were often further charges in the form of higher landing fees for a “heavy” aircraft as well as airport gate usage.

Frigate Ecojet parked at terminal

To see this impression of the Frigate Ecojet parked at the terminal, one can be forgiven for thinking it looks a bit like a Boeing 787 with its smooth contoured nose.

The Frigate Ecojet concept is quite a departure from the current airliner design. An aircraft with a modest fuselage length but with the capacity to carry as many passengers as the larger jets. The Frigate Ecojet fuselage does not have the normal cylindrical cross section shape, but rather is an oval on its side. To see the aircraft from the front it seems that it has been squashed from the top. This, however, is what gives the extra carrying capacity. Inside the economy cabin, there are three instead of two aisles with a proposed typical configuration being 2-3-3-2. Ten seats abreast.

Frigate Ecojet cabin cross section

With a standard 10 seats abreast, it is easy to see how a larger passenger payload can be carried without adding extra length to the fuselage.

Instead of adding a long narrow fuselage to accommodate more passengers, the Frigate Ecojet can carry many more passengers in an aircraft that will fit into gates designed for the smaller jets.

JVV believe the ambience of the cabin will be enhanced by the extra feeling of space brought about by the extra width. This will also be an advantage in the cargo carrying area with most standard size containers being catered for.

Frigate Ecojet 3 aisle cabin

At first, you think, “oh yes, another economy class seating layout”. Then you do a double take when you realise there are three aisles. The Frigate Ecojet cabin looks like it will have a great feeling of space with the extra width.

Frigate Ecojet Фрегат Экоджет Development

Whilst the initial project is being run from Zhukovsky in the Moscow region, much of the Frigate Ecojet work will be done in concert with technology partners, ThyssenKrupp System Engineering (TKSE) in Germany. JSC is wanting the testing and certification to be done under EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) as Russian aviation certification is not yet synchronised with EASA and the FAA(Federal Aviation Administration).

Frigate ecojet head on in flight

No, don’t adjust your screen resolution. It is not until you see the Frigate Ecojet end on, that you begin to realise how radically different this design is.

The aim is to have the Frigate Ecojet ready for its first flight in 2018-19 with a projected entry into service in 2021.

Obviously, it is still early days for this design and no doubt modifications will be made along the way as testing is carried out. So far wind tunnel testing has proven favourable, confirming the aerodynamic properties are giving the expected results. The structural integrity of the oval-shaped fuselage has been assured with systems in place to provide the right types of strength where it is needed.

 Frigate Ecojet (Фрегат Экоджет) Specs

There will be two main variants of the Frigate Ecojet, the  “Frigate Ecojet – 250” and the  “Frigate Ecojet – 300”. The differentiator between the two is the number of passengers that can be carried and the range it can fly. The  “Frigate Ecojet – 250” will carry up to 250 passengers up to a maximum range of 4,500 to 5,000 km, while the  “Frigate Ecojet – 300” will carry up to 300 passengers up to a range of 3,500 km.

Frigate Ecojet cabin layouts

The difference between the Frigate Ecojet offerings will be based on the trade-off between higher passenger numbers and shorter range, or lower passenger numbers and higher range.

Whilst these values may change before the aircraft actually takes to the air, currently, the Frigate Ecojet (Фрегат Экоджет) Specs are as shown below.

  Frigate Ecojet – 250 Frigate Ecojet – 300
Passenger Capacity  250 (Mixed class) 300 (Single Class)
 Range  4,500 – 5,000 Km  3,500 Km
 Maximum Cruise Speed  Mach .82
 Normal Cruise Speed  Mach .80
 Maximum Take-off weight at ISA and 15c  128,000 kg
 Empty Weight  72,600 kg
 Maximum Payload  30,000 kg
 Take-off and landing distance  2,500 mtrs
 Aisles  3 with a minimum width of 500mm
 Fuselage Length  19.647 Metres
 Wing Span 46.4 Metres
 Tail Height 15.505 Metres
 Cargo (LD3 Storage)  20
 Engines Russian PD-18 or modified PS-90A20 turbofans

We look on with interest to see how the development of this radical new design pans out. If it succeeds, it will possibly change the face of air travel in the future and ensure that Russia carves out a niche among the big airliner producers.

If you have any further information on the Frigate Ecojet, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave comments below.

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