A new Chinese-Russian joint partnership launched in May of 2017 sees COMAC of China and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) of Russia attempting to bring to market an all-new cost-efficient widebody passenger airliner. This product is set to compete directly with the likes of the Boeing 777/787 models as well as the French Airbus A330/A340/A380 series. The teams will operate under the "China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation" product banner - abbreviated as "CRAIC" - with headquarters based in Shanghai, China (though engineering will take place in Moscow, Russia).
The product is tentatively designated "C929".
There will be three variants of the base design drawn up: the short-ranged form will seat 230 persons and the intermediate-range variant will shuttle approximately 280 persons (with Economy-class seating set as nine across). The long-range model will house up to 320 passengers. It is expected that the general range of the intermediate aircraft design will reach up to 7,500 miles with power (rather interestingly) to come from a foreign engine brand (British Rolls-Royce or American General Electric being named so far). The primary goal of the project is to advance operating cost efficiency for carriers so, to aid this, a wing mainplane primarily constructed out of advanced composites is said to be in play and up to half of the fuselage will feature the technology with extensive lines integrated to provide the necessary electric service to the various planned components.
The initial design phase is set to run from 2017 until the conclusion of 2018 at which point certification will be sought the following year. A first-flight is tentatively scheduled for 2024 and first-delivery will occur before the end of the next decade. The joint partnership hopes to see the launch of the new line sometime in the late-2020s.
Based on UAC company renderings, the C929 is expected to maintain a traditional design arrangement with a forward-set flight deck, tubular fuselage and single-finned tail unit. The engine pairing will be underslung at each wing (one engine per wing) and the wing mainplanes swept rearwards while capped by finely contoured winglets adding efficiency. Most of the proposed advances of the aircraft will take place internally.
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October 2017 - United Engine Corp of Russia and Aero Engine Corp of China have teamed up to devlier an all-new engine for the C929 widebody airliner.
May 2018 - Current design specifications of the C929 now see seating for nine abreast, requiring a wider fuselage (about 6 meters in width) which, in turn, now requires engines of greater thrust output (nearing 78,000lb to 80,000lb each unit).
June 2018 - The CR929 is tentatively scheduled for a first-flight in 2023.
June 2019 - Deliveries of first-units has been delayed as far back as 2027.
August 2019 -Both China and Russia are proposing alternative indigenous engines for the CR929 product (initial forms will be powered by Rolls-Royce turbofans).
September 2019 - Note differences in approaches between Chinese and Russian companies related to the CR929 are delaying basic steps towards achieving completion and delivery of the airliner within a reasonable timeframe.
September 2021 - The CR929 is expected to have its first flight some time in 2025. The initial test subject is slated to begin construction in 2022.
August 2023 - It was announced that Russia is no longer an active participant in the CR929 program.
China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation (CRAIC) - China / Russia Manufacturer(s)
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represents the most popular modern mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are low-mounted along the sides of the fuselage.
The planform features wing sweep back along the leading edges of the mainplane, promoting higher operating speeds.
2 x Rolls-Royce OR General Electric non-afterburning turbofans of 71,250lb to 78,000lb thrust output each. Propulsion
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