FARNBOROUGH: Bombardier dual-sources early CSeries centre fuselage barrels

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Bombardier confirms that a risk mitigation strategy for the centre fuselage barrel of the CSeries includes spreading work on the earliest shipsets to suppliers outside China.

The selection of Shenyang Aircraft, mostly known as a maker of Chinese copies of Russian fighter aircraft, to build the CSeries centre fuselage has not changed, says Guy Hachey, president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Aerospace.

But a few of the first shipsets have been outsourced to external suppliers, such as Spain's Aernnova, as a means to mitigate the risk of delays as Shenyang gains experience, he says.

Shenyang will remain the long-term supplier for the CSeries centre fuselage, Hachey adds. Construction of Shenyang's 21,000m² (226,000ft²) facility began in March 2010. Shenyang also delivered a fuselage test barrel to Bombardier in August 2009.

The risk mitigation strategy relies heavily on Aernnova's aerostructures manufacturing facility in Berantevilla, Spain. Aernnova is a familiar supplier to Bombardier, already manufacturing horizontal and vertical stabilizers for the CRJ700 and CRJ900.

Aernnova also is well-acquainted with the centre fuselage section of the CSeries. The Spanish company was selected to build the first 40 composite and titanium centre wing boxes for the CSeries, which are each shipped to Shenyang for assembly with the fuselage barrel.

Although Shenyang's work is being at least dual-sourced initially, Bombardier's chief concern about the CSeries project has never been about the aircraft's structures. Instead, the company has been applying pressure on Parker Hannifin and subcontractor BAE Systems to deliver the fly-by-wire flight controls for the CSeries on time.

First flight of the flight test vehicle, FTV-1, is scheduled by end-year, although Bombardier has emphasised that meeting the schedule for entry into service in late 2013 is a more meaningful milestone for its customers.