China and Russia JV Reveal Model of new Passenger Jet to Compete against Boeing and Airbus

By | Jun 06, 2017 05:14 PM EDT

A scale moidel of the CRAIC jet. (Photo : CRAIC)

China and Russia, two also rans in the production of commercial aircraft, recently introduced their first narrow-body passenger jets and have now decided to collaborate in developing a new wide-body airliner.

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), both state-owned enterprises, announced an agreement to begin full-scale development of this jumbo jet.

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The unnamed jet will be developed by a new joint venture firm named China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation, Ltd (CRAIC). The aim of CRAIC, which was organized in Shanghai in 2014, is to build a "competitive long range wide-body commercial aircraft."

CRAIC will compete against the world's Big Two aircraft manufacturers: The Boeing Company and Europe's Airbus SAS based in France. It optimistically hopes to deliver its first wide-body by 2027.

This passenger jet will be designed to seat 280 persons, directly pitting it against the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A330neo.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is long-haul, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner made by Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), the Boeing division that designs, assembles, markets and sells jet airliners and business jets. Over 500 Dreamliners have been produced since the aircraft was introduced in 2011.

The Airbus A330neo ("New Engine Option") is a wide-body jet airliner currently under development by Airbus from the Airbus A330. It will seat 280 passengers and is scheduled for introduction by mid-2018.

The plane CRAIC has in mind will have its fuselage, horizontal and vertical stabilizers, nose cone, and nose landing gear made in China. On the other hand, Russia will build the aircraft's composite wings, engine pylons and main landing gear.

The plane's engines, however, will be either a Rolls-Royce or General Electric engine for the first few aircraft. Succeeding planes later on might use the Russian-built PD-35 engine, which is still in development. Preliminary research work on this engine only began in July 2016.

COMAC and UAC this early have agreed to disagree on the plane's name. The plane has tentatively been given the name COMAC C929, which Russia doesn't like.

The C929 is a planned 250 to 280-seat wide-body twinjet airliner with a range of 12,000 km to be developed by COMAC and UAC to challenge Airbus and Boeing. Its first flight is scheduled between 2025 and 2028.

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