Russia’s top home-grown passenger aircraft, the Sukhoi Superjet 100, will be used by the UN for peacekeeping missions following a contract signing last month, according to Rosaviatsiya, Russia’s federal air transport agency.
The aircraft, which entered service in 2011 and was the first passenger jet built in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union, had a troubled history despite the state pouring billions of dollars into its development. Last year, a Superjet crash landed in Moscow, killing 41.
UN peacekeeping spokesman Nick Birnback said: “We are finalising several contracts for standby, short term air transport services in support of field operations –including peacekeeping.”
Earlier this year, sources told Reuters there were no confirmed orders for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 beyond a longstanding deal with state carrier Aeroflot.
“In March 2020, the first UN contract was received for Sukhoi Superjet 100 planes to provide services for UN peacekeeping missions,” Rosaviatsiya said in a statement.
The deal was closed by Russian regional carrier Yakutia Airlines, a Rosaviatsiya representative told Reuters.
Russian helicopters, provided by UTair, are in use by the UN.
Asked about the Superjet contract, a UN spokesman said it uses different vendors for its aviation needs. “Many contracts are for a standby capability that may or may not be required based on operational considerations.”.