China's aerospace industry is further expanding its share of production of major sub-assemblies for Boeing aircraft. Chengdu Aircraft (CAC) is preparing to begin manufacturing 757 empennages from early-1997.

The company is close to completing a new production site at its Chengdu plant, at which it will build the 757's tail. Under its subcontract with Northrop Grumman it is to begin tooling and fabrication work in 1997, and deliver the first shipset in 1998.

CAC will initially concentrate on producing the 757's vertical stabiliser, followed later by the horizontal stabiliser. Its work package will eventually be expanded to include the twinjet's fuselage section 48. It is not known how many assemblies CAC has been contracted to supply, but sources suggest that the deal could cover 1,000 ship sets.

The company has already established itself as a major subcontractor, supplying nose sections for the McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90. Its contract with Northrop Grumman represents a significant expansion of 757 work in China, which until now has been limited to Shenyang Aircraft (SAC) supplying the twinjet's cargo doors.

SAC, together with Xian Aircraft (XAC) and Shanghai Aviation Industrial, have also been contracted by Boeing to supply tail sub-assemblies for the next-generation Boeing 737-600/700/800. XAC is due to begin delivering vertical stabilisers in early 1998. A year later, SAIC will begin supplying the new 737's horizontal stabiliser to Seattle and, with SAC, will begin building the new aircraft's aft-fuselage section 48.

Source: Flight International