China and Russia unveiled a life-size model of a proposed wide-body long-haul jet, pushing a joint effort to break into a market dominated by Boeing and Airbus.
The life-size model was showcased at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition that kicked off in the coastal city of Zhuhai on Tuesday, Reuters reports.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) showed off the model of the CR929’s cockpit and passenger cabin in a ceremony that was attended by senior executives from both state-owned planemakers, according to the report.
“Our program is making progress and is on schedule,” UAC President Yury Slyusar was quoted as saying.
“It is currently in the preliminary design phase and we are also in the supplier and equipment selection phase, which will finish by the end of 2019.”
The mockup, which was 22 meters long, 6.5 meters tall and 5.9 meters wide, showed a roomy interior with 9-abreast basic seating in economy class.
The cockpit contained dummy instruments, with actual systems yet to be chosen, including a sidestick similar to the flying control favored by Airbus over the traditional control column.
In 2014, UAC and COMAC announced that they will cooperate on a widebody jet program. The firms kick-started full-scale development of the program three years later by forming a joint venture, China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation (CRAIC).
To date, they have sought proposals for the plane’s engine and landing gear.
Chen Yingchun, COMAC’s chief designer for the CR929 program, told reporters that CRAIC would seek supplier proposals from all over the world but declined to comment on whether current trade frictions with the United States would influence their choice.
The jet’s designers have previously said its fuselage would be designed and made by China while the wings would be designed by Russia.
Beijing wants the single-aisle aircraft to eventually compete with the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787.
A senior COMAC executive said in June that the CR929 aims to make its maiden flight from 2023.
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