The CR929 program, which will lead to a long-range widebody jet in partnership between Russia and China, has shown progress after a period of uncertainty.
This week, Russian company AeroComposite announced it was producing prototypes of the composite structure of the CR929’s wings.
“The Ulyanovsk plant is involved in two projects, the first of which is the fabrication of a wing and center section for the MC-21 aircraft, an operational project that is ongoing and series production has been launched. The second is the creation of a wing for the Russian-Chinese CR929 aircraft. Prototypes are being made and technological processes are being tested,” said Anatoly Gaidansky, First Deputy General Director of Irkut Corporation.
AeroComposite was founded in 2008 with the task of producing structural parts in composite material in order to reduce Russian dependence on foreign suppliers. With the trade blockade measures taken by the US and some Western countries, Russia has intensified the replacement of components in its new aircraft projects.
CR929 is expected to benefit from this program as it is developed taking into account less dependence on Western companies. The PD-35 turbofan engine, for example, is in core section testing at UEC-Aviadvigatel.
With dimensions similar to a Boeing 787, the CR929 will be produced jointly by Irkut and COMAC, from China. The Chinese partner is already preparing an area to produce the first aircraft in Linang, a new industrial area south of Shanghai-Pudong Airport.
The great demand is expected to originate from Chinese airlines, however, forecasts about their entry into service are still unclear.
Some time ago, the inaugural flight was planned in 2023, but this is unlikely to happen. Russian and Chinese representatives have also already estimated the official launch of the program in 2025, which seems more appropriate.