A new Russian medium-range passenger aircraft is being hailed by state media as being superior in many ways to western-made counterparts.

The Irkut Corporation rolled out the MC-21 aircraft, which is still undergoing testing but is due to enter production in 2017.

Prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, described the new twin-engine short and medium-range aircraft as “cool”, saying it was important that Russia remained in what he called the top league of aircraft makers despite the high costs involved, the Guardian reported.

“I only want to say that I am absolutely certain that the airliner will be the pride of Russian civil aviation, and that our citizens and foreign people will take pleasure in flights on MC-21,” said Medvedev.

The aircraft will be built in two variants: the MC-21-300 with 160-211 seats, and the MC-21-200 with 130-165 seats.

Deliveries are expected to start in 2018 and state media said numerous contracts with domestic and foreign carriers had already been agreed.

The state-controlled United Aircraft Corporation, of which Irkut is a subsidiary, said the aircraft would be able to service routes of up to 6,400km (3,976 miles) and its operational costs would be up to 15% cheaper than current generation aircraft.

Vladimir Volkov, vice-president of Irkut Corporation, said: “It is not made of metal, it is made of composite materials. That allows us to give it a special shape. It is much lighter and stronger so it is a great step in the development of our aviation industry.”