UAC, Comac create joint venture to develop widebody aircraft

UAC will build the aircraft’s composite wing while COMAC will make the fuselage, using both aluminum and composites.

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The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. (COMAC) and Russia's United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) have formed a joint venture called China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Co. Ltd (CRAIC), which will be responsible for the operation of the new generation long-range widebody aircraft program jointly developed by China and Russia.

Both sides have identified the development plan of the long-range widebody aircraft series, completed the preliminary definition of aircraft-level indicators, and clarified the range (12,000 km) and seat number (280) of the basic version. The program will enter into preliminary design phase, and consultation will be made with system and equipment suppliers. Final assembly will take place in Shanghai. 

With regards to composites usage, according to Aviation Week:

UAC will develop the composite wing; wing-flap systems; engine pylons; and main landing gear. The Chinese responsibility includes the fuselage sections; horizontal and vertical stabilizers; nose cone; nose landing gear; and wing fairings.

The airframe will be at least 50% composite to cut weight and improve efficiency. The aircraft is also expected to have improved aerodynamic efficiency, and to rely more on electrical power. However, many detail decisions have not been made.

A news release from the joint venture stated that “CRAIC will carry out global bidding based on market-oriented and standardized principles, and provide priority to suppliers that are more experienced, can provide competitive product and willing to share the risk during development. More suppliers are welcomed and encouraged to consider local manufacturing, either through local investment or joint ventures.”