C919 - Design
The C919 was designed and assembled in Shanghai, but sourced parts and components globally, which is a model adopted by the two air dominant groups, Boeing and Airbus, according to Wu Guanghui, chief designer of the program and deputy general manager of COMAC. "We will choose international suppliers through bidding. But priority will go to foreign suppliers that design and manufacturer products with domestic companies in China," he said at the November 2008 air show in Zhuhai of south China's Guangdong Province.
Technological advancement of China's aviation industry has been directly related to cooperation and investment from international firms. On the one hand, western companies have sourced parts from China for several decades. Most major aerospace manufacturers outsource limited volumes of metalwork to Chinese machine tooling shops, due not only to lower labor rates but also to the wide availability of the latest tooling technology.
The C919 large passenger aircraft main system equipment suppliers had basically been selected at the end of September 2010. China had completed a total of 14 major system 38 working package signing of letter of intent. October 2010, China formally presented to the Civil Aviation Administration of China C919 airliner model certificate applications for large, model development work will be based on the airworthiness of evidence as the main line.
The C919 large airliner fullscale display prototype was unveiled 15 November 2010 at Zhuhai airshow. This showed the prototype is the C919 cockpit and the cabin side, 17 m, height 5.6 m, width 3.96 m. Display prototype display, C919 large aircraft using streamline modeling of contour design, cockpit and cabin features designed to "comfort" as a principle, cabin luggage, and other design elements into China.
Western suppliers on China’s new C919 aircraft were required to form joint ventures [JVs] with Chinese partners to produce their systems, forcing suppliers to balance their desire to access the C919 platform with their need to protect their intellectual property rights [IPR]. Different western companies made different rates of progress on these JVs. For example, GE moved quite fast on its 50/50 avionics JV with AVIC, which was finally established in May 2012. Safran has also made good progress, setting up two JVs already in April 2011 (nacelle components) and April 2012 (wiring design and manufacturing). A JV between GE/Safran and AVIC for the final assembly line for the Leap-1C aero engine is still under discussion. We note a report in Flight International (April 10, 2012) that Rockwell Collins has also now formed a JV to focus on surveillance products for the C919. However, AVIC said it understood the need for its western JV partners to protect their IPR and systems, and that it was mainly seeking to gain western management skills and market knowledge.
The aircraft engine issue was always the bottleneck of China's aviation manufacturing industry and large China-made aircraft which will be launched in 2016 will adopt imported CFM engines, but will adopt China-made engines in the future. CFM International, a venture between GE Aviation and Safran SA of France, won the contract to provide its LEAP-X engine for the aircraft. COMAC selected CFM's advanced new LEAP-X engine as the sole western powerplant for the C919 in December 2009. The two companies are nearing the completion of the joint definition phase and CFM was on schedule to freeze the LEAP-X design by the end of 2011 and the first full LEAP-X engine will go on test in early 2013. COMAC has opted for a complete Integrated Propulsion System (IPS) for the C919. CFM will provide the engine and, in partnership with Nexcelle, the nacelle and thrust reverser to deliver a complete IPS solution to COMAC.
In April 2010 US Aerospace firm Hamilton Sundstrand won a $1 billion long-term contract to provide the electric power generation and distribution systems for China's first single-aisle C919 aircraft, beating rivals including General Electric Co. Hamilton Sundstrand will form a joint-venture partnership with Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) System Co Ltd to develop and manufacture the electrical system. Hamilton Sundstrand is a key supplier on COMAC's 90-seat ARJ21 regional jet, including the electric power, high-lift actuation and fire protection systems. The company is one of a clutch of aviation suppliers that was awarded a contract for the C919 project, China's largest domestically manufactured jetliner.
Honeywell International Inc got a $7.3 billion order to supply auxiliary power units and related equipment for the C919 project, while Parker Hannifin Corp won a contract for at least $2.5 billion for components including fuel and hydraulic systems. COMAC also chose Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS to supply C919's air management system, and chose Goodrich to supply the exterior lighting system. The four suppliers will all establish joint ventures with local partners for the project, according to the letter of intent signed on 14 April 2010 in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. Parker Aerospace, a business segment of Parker Hannifin Corporation, the global leader in motion and control technologies, was selected by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) to supply fly-by-wire flight control actuation system for the new COMAC C919 large aircraft. Parker Aerospace will also be responsible to provide the hydraulic, fuel, and inerting systems for the C919.
Further to the Definitive Agreement (DA) signed on March 21, 2012 covering program commonalities between the C919 and CSeries aircraft and the Letter of Intent (LOI) signed on November 13, 2012 signaling the beginning of Phase II of their strategic collaboration, Bombardier and the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd (COMAC) announced June 17, 2013 the signing of a DA covering four distinctive projects. The DA is to be executed as part of the second phase of the parties’ long-term collaboration on leveraging commonalities between the C919 and CSeries airliners. The four initiatives COMAC and Bombardier will collaborate on are: 1) specific areas of the CSeries aircraft flight test activities pertaining to non-flying tasks, 2) implementing and maintaining the common items that were achieved as part of Phase I, 3) sales and marketing, and 4) certain areas of customer services related to training, technical publications and parts distribution.
TravelPulse Website reported that many components were manufactured in France, Germany and the US, such as the electrical system and landing gears coming from US-based Honeywell. The biggest components, including the core processing and display system, were supplied via a joint venture between GE Aviation Systems and AVIC, state-owned Chinese aircraft contractor. The other main suppliers were US-based Rockwell Collins and US-based Hamilton Sustrand. ‘Leap’ engines were produced from a joint venture between France-based Safran and GE. However, there's no shame for COMAC to contract foreign suppliers.
According to Chen Yingchun, the standing deputy chief designer of C919 from the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), independent innovation on the plane across five aspects of its general planning show that it was achieved by China independently: the aerodynamic configuration was designed and tested by China independently; China independently designed, calculated, tested and produced the body of the plane; China independently completed system integration; China managed the program in a unique way.
It is understood that the C919 aircraft would be basic, form a lengthened, shortened form, freight type, special-shaped, official-series models. Display prototype manufacture is the development of large passenger aircraft C919 pre-release development stage of an important element, the Visual display of the aircraft structure and image, to lay the foundation of market development work.
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