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Chinese-Russian widebody to require higher engine thrust

Developers of the joint Russian-Chinese widebody have increased the engine thrust required for the jet.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, the commercial aviation unit for United Aircraft, tells FlightGlobal that the requirement is now for 78,000lb-thrust turbofans, up from the previous 75,000lb-thrust specification. The China-Russia Commercial Aircraft Corporation (CRAIC) is due to receive proposals for the engines by 31 May, following the request for proposal issued in December 2017.

“The engine thrust now is 78,000. It has changed because of marketing demand that the aircraft be able to base in several high-altitude aerodromes in China. After the answer to RFP requests from potential engine suppliers is received, this measurement also might be elaborated,” it adds.

Rolls-Royce and General Electric are expected to respond to the engine RFP.

The joint venture between United Aircraft and Comac also provided technical details of the baseline version of the aircraft, designated the CR929-600, which are accurate as of May. The fuselage will be 63.3m long and 5.92m wide, and the wing span will be of 63.9m. It will have a passenger capacity of 281 seats in a three-class configuration, with a range of 12,000km and a maximum take-off weight of 245t.

These measurements put the aircraft roughly in-line with the Airbus A330-300, which is widely popular in China. The jet also represents a competitive response to the A350-900 and the Boeing 787-9 and -10.

Sukhoi adds that technical characteristics of the jet may change during detailed design, which the programme is undergoing, together with the beginning of supplier selection. This involves developing requirements of the aircraft systems, as well as the preparation and distribution of RFPs to potential suppliers.

“MoUs with launch customers are also planned to be signed. Apart from that it’s also necessary to outline the production cooperation, to develop the system of aftersales support and sales strategy.”

It adds that detailed design of the aircraft is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, and that UAC and Comac will work together on the aircraft layout and airframe structure development.

The target is for the aircraft to be introduced in the 2025-2028 timeframe, and would be the first twin-engined widebody produced by either country.

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