The state conglomerate United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), from Russia, admitted that it is no longer a partner in the joint venture CRAIC with the Chinese COMAC in the CR929 widebody aircraft project. The Russian company, however, will continue working on the development of the plane as the main supplier.
The changing role of the Russians in the CR929 project was confirmed by Yury Slyusar, director general of the UAC, during a press conference at the “Army-2023” military forum in Moscow.
“All technology leaders who participated with us and the Chinese in the project have stopped this cooperation,” Slyusar said, blaming sanctions imposed on Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine.
The UAC director did not reveal, for the time being, what the company’s duties will be in the development of the CR929, but that he considers “various options for cooperation” with COMAC.
Among some examples, the chief executive cited the supply of engines and a wing made of composite material manufactured in Russia as forms of collaboration in the project.
Up to 440 seats
The formation of the CRAIC (China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation/China-Russia International Commercial Aircraft Corporation) consortium was announced by COMAC and UAC in June 2016. At the time of the announcement, the companies had plans to debut the CR929 in service around 2027.
COMAC, although not officially admitting it yet, already treats the CR929 as a product from its catalogue. At the Paris Air Show, the Chinese company’s booth presented digital images of the aircraft with the slogan “COMAC Long Range Wide-Body” stamped on the plane and without the UAC logo. If so, chances are the jet will be renamed the C929 at some point.
Widebody similar in size to the Airbus A330, the CR929 is designed to carry between 258 and 320 passengers with a range of up to 12,000 km. For that, it would be equipped with PD-35 turbofans, under development in Russia.
Despite the end of the joint venture, COMAC is expected to continue the development of the aircraft on its own in order to meet the demand of airlines in China.