The two-crew flight deck of the CR929 has a similar arrangement to the COMAC C919, incorporating a five-screen EFIS display set-up and sidestick controls. Handout.

The joint effort between China and Russia to build a long-range wide-body jetliner has taken a big step forward, China Daily reported.

According to the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC), the company has just begun looking for suppliers for its CR929 jumbo jetliner.

The company also told reporters at the International Aviation and Space Salon 2019 in Zhukovsky, near Moscow, that the CR929 (CR stands for China-Russia)  project is now in the preliminary design stage and is proceeding well.

Next, project teams from China and Russia will deepen cooperation to boost research and development of the long-haul, wide-body jetliner, it added.

COMAC brought a 1:1 model of the CR929’s forward fuselage, consisting of the cockpit and a short section of the passenger cabin, to the Russian air show. It was the first time the Chinese airliner manufacturer displayed a large-size model of the CR929 overseas, the company said.

Research and development of the CR929 was launched in 2016. The next year, China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corp. was established in Shanghai to take responsibility for the endeavor, the report said.

The CR929 jumbo jetliner will come in three different variants with a maximum range of 14,000 km. Handout.

With an initial targeted market in China and Russia (and eventually in competition with Airbus and Boeing), the CR929 will come in three variants.

The first variant, the -500, will carry 250 passengers in three-classes. It will have a range of 14,000 kilometres. The -600 will have 280 seats and a range of 12,000 kilometres, while the -700 will carry 320 passengers to 10,000 kilometres.

According to AINonline,  the Russians will provide a major contribution into shaping the CR929’s aerodynamics.

They will develop and manufacture airframe parts made of composite materials including those for the center- and outer-wing sections. In turn, the Chinese side is responsible for the fuselage and empennage.

The biggest and most important component is the high bypass turbofan, which is being led by Russia’s United Engine Corporation with the Aero Engine Corporation of China.

However, because the proposed Sino-Russian engine needs more time to become available than the airframe and key onboard systems, initial production CR929s are likely to come with western engines from Rolls-Royce or General Electric.

The Sino-Russian engine, which will have a thrust range of 35 tonnes, is expected by the end of the next decade.

In another development, COMAC announced during the Russian show that the last two C919 prototypes will be delivered to conduct flight tests around the end of this year.

The C919, COMAC’s first jetliner, conducted a successful maiden flight in May 2017 at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Currently, four of them are in testing. A total of six prototypes of the jetliner will undergo intensive flight tests.

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