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Xian (AVIC) MA700 (Modern Ark 700)

Twin-Engine, Turboprop-Powered Regional Passenger Airliner

Xian-AVIC of China is developing this all-new turboprop-powered regional airliner - mainly to reach the far-off places of the vast Chinese frontier.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 10/11/2019
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Year: 2022
Status: In-Development
Manufacturer(s): Xian Aircraft Industrial Corporation (Aviation Industry Corporation of China - AVIC) - China
Production: 0
Capabilities: Transport; Commercial Market; VIP Transport;
Crew: 2
Length: 100.07 ft (30.5 m)
Width: 90.22 ft (27.5 m)
Height: 26.57 ft (8.1 m)
Weight (Empty): 34,833 lb (15,800 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 60,848 lb (27,600 kg)
Power: 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PW150C turboprop engines developing up to 5,100 horsepower each and driving six-bladed Dowty propeller units in puller fashion.
Speed: 398 mph (640 kph; 346 kts)
Ceiling: 25,000 feet (7,620 m; 4.73 miles)
Range: 1,678 miles (2,700 km; 1,458 nm)
Operators: Bahrain (ordered); Cambodia (ordered); China (ordered); Nepal (ordered); Saudi Arabia (ordered); South Africa (ordered)
Xian of China (under teh AVIC parent label) is developing a shoulder-winged, turboprop-powered regional airliner under the "MA700" ("Modern Ark 700") designation for "hot and high" operations across far-off locations in and around China. A first-flight for the product is planned for sometime in November of 2019 with series introduction set for 2022. The per-unit cost is $25 million USD. The launch carriers were announced as Okay Airways and Joy Air.

Though dimensionally larger, the Chinese MA700 will compete in the same class as the French ATR 72, Canadian Bombardier Q-Series and the Ilyushin IL-114 turboprop regional airliners (all three detailed elsewhere on this site).

Components for the MA700 project are originating from the typical Chinese aviation industry players - Chengdu, Shaanxi, Shenyang and Xian. Final assembly will be by Xian. Other global players involved in the program include Meggitt and Parker Aerospace, Rockwell Collins and Thales.

The product was launched in 2007 and a model emerged in 2008. The Chinese government approved full-scale development in 2013. The preliminary design then followed in early-2017 showcasing an aircraft very much traditionally arranged with its short nosecone, shoulder-mounted (tapered straight) wing mainplanes, and Multhopp "T-style" tail unit. The tricycle undercarriage is wholly retractable and seating for passengers will run between seventy-five and ninety.

The aircraft is set to be powered by 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PW150C series turboprop engines driving six-bladed Dowty R504 propeller units in underslung wing nacelles (one engine to a wing member). While output of these units for the MA700 is currently unavailable, the engine has a known output range up to 5,000 shaft horsepower and is the same powerplant that powers such types as the Bombardier Dash 8 (Q400) shoulder-winged turboprop regional airliner.

Current marketed performance specs include a maximum speed of 400 miles per hour with a cruising speed closer to 350mph. Range (ferry) will be out to 1,700 miles and the aircraft's service ceiling will reach 25,000 feet.

In its present form, the aircraft is being exhibited with an overall length of 100 feet, a wingspan measuring 91.5 feet and a height of 27 feet. Empty weight is listed at 35,000lb with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) nearing 61,000lb.

As of this writing (2018) Okay Airways is contracted for thirty units followed by Joy Air with thirty units of its own. Other Chinese-based carriers committed to the type include CDB Leasing, CMB Leasing, Chongqing Leasing, and Poly Technologies. The aircraft has also been ordered by Bahrain, Cambodia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and South Africa in lesser numbers (about ten each). Several British entities has also shown interest in the aircraft.

A flyable prototype's completion is scheduled for mid-2019 with a first-flight planned before the end of that year. While Chinese type certification is expected in 2021, highly-sought American and European type certification is also targeted for acquisition that same year.

Program Updates

January 2017 - The design of the proposed MA700 regional airliner has been reviewed.

July 2018 - A digital rendering of the proposed MA700 airliner has been reviewed by CAAC authorities.

October 2018 - First-deliveries of the MA700 are set for sometime in 2022.

October 2019 - AVIC has begun assembly of the first MA700 airliner. A first-flight is now scheduled for sometime in 2020 with the type certification phase to occur in 2022, paving the way for deliveries and operation service thereafter.



Cockpit Picture

Variants / Models

• MA700 ("Modern Ark 700") - Base Series Designation.
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