Last week, the American division of Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) revealed that manufacturing tests of full-scale 15 x 6-meter composite fuselage panels for the CR929 aircraft have been completed, with follow-up tests showing good results. The CR929 is the first long-haul jet developed by a joint venture between COMAC and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
“These composite components will enable the CR929 to reduce weight and increase efficiency,” COMAC America Corporation tweeted.
The 50-50 joint venture, known as the China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation (CRAIC), was launched in May 2017. CRAIC is targeting a time between 2025-2028 for a maiden flight and first delivery of the CR929. The jet will seat 280 passengers and have a range of up to nearly 7,500 miles. CRAIC’s goal is to claim 10 percent of a market dominated by Boeing and Airbus of 9,100 widebody aircraft over 20 years through 2035. CRAIC plans to achieve that by having the CR929 approximately 10-15 percent cheaper to run.
The CR929 draws on composite expertise gleaned from COMAC’s C919 and UAC’s Irkut MC-21 programs. Under the agreement, COMAC is working on the fuselage and UAC is developing the composite wing, wing flap systems, engine pylons and main landing gear. China and Russia will each take half of the work, and send design staff for exchange visits on a non-scheduled basis. Although the main design center is in Russia, Shanghai will also have its own design office.
Initial documents obtained by Flightglobal indicate CRAIC will want to incorporate wide-chord composite fan blades and composite fan case. Suppliers should be selected from 2018 to mid-2019. In December 2017, CRAIC issued an RFP for the propulsion system, including the engine and nacelles. The deadline for the RFP is May 30, 2018.