The Next Boeing 787? China And Russia Spending $20 Billion To Compete With Aircraft By Mid 2020’s

CR929-mock-up

A joint effort between Russia and China is aiming to create a brand new aircraft to compete with Boeing and Airbus. The $20 billion project sees Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China working together. The new aircraft was unveiled as a life-size model at China’s biannual airshow. The CR929 would be comprised of a fuselage designed by China, and wings designed by Russia. The co-operative venture between the two countries has been called the China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation, or CRAIC for short.

CR929
A model of the CR929 displayed at the Paris Air Show. Photo: Marc Lacoste

Airbus Boeing Competitor

The new aircraft is being designed to compete with Airbus and Boeing, notably the A350 and B787. CRAIC is hoping that the aircraft could take its first flight some time in 2023. This represents a two year delay from the originally estimated 2021 first flight date. In turn this would allow for introduction between 2025 and 2028. UAC, the Russian entity, believes that 8,000 wide body aircraft will be needed by 2033, including a significant number for China. The current aim set by CRAIC is to claim 10% of the wide body market. The company will achieve this by making the aircraft 10-15% cheaper to run than its competitors.

CR929
A life-size mock up of the CR929.

Life-size Model Unveiled

Now CRAIC has unveiled a life-size model of the CR929. The model was unveiled at the Zhuhai Airshow taking place in China between 6th and 11th November. The company held a ceremony to unveil the design which was attended by senior executives from both the Chinese and Russian components of CRAIC. At the ceremony, UAC’s President Yury Slyusar told how the project is making good progress.

“Our program is making progress and is on schedule. 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.

As the project is still in the supplier and equipment selection phase, much of the cockpit of the model was comprised of generic equipment, however, a key design detail was given away. Instead of opting for the control column traditionally favoured by Boeing, the aircraft has been designed with a side stick, similar to Airbus.

CR929
Inside the CR929 model.

One Of Many New Aircraft

The CR929 is one of many new aircraft being designed by China to compete with the traditional manufacturers. Comac, the Chinese part of the CRAIC duo, is designing a number of different aircraft. Their first jet, the ARJ21 has been in service since June 2016. The C919, a medium range narrow body aircraft, took its first flight in May 2017. The first delivery of this aircraft is planned for 2021, followed by the 929.

What do you think of the CR929? Will the project be delivered to schedule? Let us know in the comments below!

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