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Comac has spoken for the first time about its planned widebody joint venture with Russia's United Aircraft, detailing the size and range of the jet as well as the timeline for the project.

The Chinese manufacturer has so far kept quiet about the development, leaving any announcements to the Chinese government. At the Farnborough air show, however, Comac has told FlightGlobal that both parties have decided on a 280-seat twinjet, which will have a range of about 12,000km. At present, the plan is to for the aircraft to take its first flight around 2022.

Comac and Russia's United Aircraft (UAC) will also set up a joint venture, to be registered in Shanghai. Thereafter, an engineering team made up of members from the two parties will jointly complete the design and development of the aircraft. The final assembly centre for the jet will also be based in Shanghai.

UAC president Yuri Slyusar tells FlightGlobal the aircraft will be powered by either Rolls-Royce or General Electric engines. In the longer term, however, there are plans for both countries to each develop their own engine for the aircraft. The Chinese say that discussions with the Russians do not at present include the joint development of an engine.

Slyusar says that entry into service of the aircraft will be in the 2025-27 range. He adds that the jet would use several Russian technologies leveraged from the MC-21, which include a carbonfibre wing, fly-by-wire, active sidesticks and 6,000ft density-altitude cabin pressurisation.

Suppliers tell FlightGlobal that a request for proposals should be initiated by January 2017. They add that the Comac-UAC joint venture is set to be formed by year-end. Thereafter, the allocation of work between the two parties should crystallise.

Source: Cirium Dashboard