The Sukhoi Superjet 100 features flight control system with characteristics copied from Airbus. Side-sticks, same control laws. But does it actually use any of the hardware or software from Airbus (under license), or is it an independent development based on detailed descriptions of the behaviour?


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characteristics copied from Airbus

More precisely, copied from the package developed for Airbus by Thales.

Thales pioneered the development and certification of FBW technology on modern aircraft, starting with the Airbus wide-body A310 in 1983 followed by the A320 family (...)

To that regard, from an official brochure (PDF), the SSJ100's avionics are also provided by Thales. As for the flight control system, it's been developed by Liebherr (cockpit controls, computers, and mechanical components). (Cropped page below showing who has done what.)

Liebherr (headquartered in Bulle, Switzerland) has an official video about it on YouTube. Where the narrator says:

(...) Liebherr supplies the entire flight control systems from the various controls in the cockpit, to the rudder of the plane. More clearly, the aerospace equipment manufacturer designed joysticks, or here more properly called side stick controllers, in-flight computers, brake levers, pedals, and slats and flaps activation systems for the Russian regional jet (...)

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  • $\begingroup$ So it was clearly subcontracted to the same companies that do it for Airbus. It is unfortunately not clear how much of it is actually reused, but I suppose that information is probably not really publicly available. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Jun 12, 2019 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec: I got my hands on the SSJ100 FCOM. It's not very well translated, but the similarities are a lot indeed. Even the buttons and layout. Thales being the same avionics provider would explain it. Now whether Thales or Airbus or both have the intellectual property, could indeed be hard to answer. But, the good news is it's not reverse engineering or blind copying :) $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 12:21
  • $\begingroup$ On the other hand if a problem is found (I am thinking about the lightning strike that led to the recent accident), it cannot be ascribed to shoddy copying, but instead risk that it exists in the hardware for Airbus too. Of course we don't even know yet what exactly the lightning damaged there, so we can't even guess the extent of potential problem. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ The stock background on that Thales page showing some basic PHP code doesn't give me too much confidence $\endgroup$
    – SztupY
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 15:44

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