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Shenyang Aircraft Corporation [SAC]

Shenyang Aircraft Corporation [SAC] has emerged as China's largest fighter aircraft enterprise since its establishment in 1953. In addition to jet fighters, SAC's other two primary products are commercial aero-structures and non-aeronautical products like buses and factory storage systems. SAC is divided into four divisions: civilian aircraft and ancillary equipment, military aircraft, and civilian products (non-aviation related, from construction materials to passenger buses).Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, Ltd. (SAC) belonged to China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I). At one time Shenyang Aircraft had some 30,000 employees, and as of 2004 had 16,000 employees supporting aerospace and non-aerospace production, including about 2,000 people supporting commercial aero-structures. As of 1989 the Shenyang Aircraft Company had over 20,000 workers and operating personnel, with 2872 high level and middle level engineers.

The Shenyang Airframe Plant is approximately 2nm north of Shenyang, and immediately west of Shenyang Airfield North. As of early 1963 the Aircraft Assembly Plant had 5 large fabrication and 20 associated buildings, a wind tunnel, and a power plant. The Shenyang Aircraft Engine Plant is located approximately 2 nm. ESE of the old walled city of Shen-Yang (Mukden), on the NE edge of Mukden airfield, and immediately east of Shen-Yang Arsenal. As of early 1963 the plant contained five large fabrication buildings and approximately twenty smaller associated buildings, as well as a recently constructed power plant, underground POL storage, and six engine test cells. Immediately west of the Shenyang Aircraft Engine Plant is the associated Shenyang Arsenal. As of early 1963 the road-and rail-served arsenal contained 6 large and approximately 30 other fabrication buildings, numerous associated buildings, a heat/power plant, and 14 engine test cells and one possible test cell. As of 1989 the factory covered a land surface area of over 6 million square meters.

China began the development of its own combat aircraft,designated the J-6, after the final break with the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1960s. The design of the J-6 is largely based on that of the Soviet MiG-19, which had been constructed in China under license. The J-6 was to be givenan all-weather capability. Various modifications have been made to improve aircraft performance and enhance its operational life. The development of the J-6 from the MiG-19 was viewed as an interim solution. In periods of peak production, the Shenyang Aircraft Company's plant was capable of producing several hundred MIG-19's in one year.

The various sections of the full fuselage of the J-8 and J-8II are manufactured, for the most part, by tne Shenyang Aircraft Company and its subordinate divisions. As far as production of the aircraft parts is concerned, it is dispersed over the 50,000 square meters within the plant area of the factory. Within this, there is only one final assembly workshop that looks from the outside like an "assembly line" structure. By 1989, due to a shortage of regular customers, production of military aircraft products had almost stopped. As a result of this, the plant was fitting itself for economically profitable speeds and lot sizes in order to manufacture J-8-I and J-8-II fighter planes. Moreover, this is not slow but of a continuous and unvarying speed in order to set production in order. Before its post-Tiananmen cancellation, a centerpiece of the U.S.-PRC entente that had grown during the 1980s, was the "Peace Pearl" co-development program in which Grumman was to refit the U.S. APG-66 radar and U.S. avionics on to 50 J-8IIs. In the wake of Grumman's exit, it now reported that Israel and Russia quickly stepped in 1990-1991 to complete "Peace Pearl."

Shenyang Aircraft provided assitance to the Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (HAMC) and Xian Aircraft Company (XAC) for the production of the H-6 (Badger) under a licensing agreement from the Soviet Union. Shenyang Aircraft also provided assitance to Nanchang Aircraft for the production of the Q-5.

A joint venture was established at SAC to produce the Su-27 aircraft and the associated Lyulka AL-31 turbofan engine. After three years of delay on the Russian side, in 1996, Sukhoi and the Shenyang Aircraft Co. (SAC) entered into a contract to co-produce up to 200 Su-27SKs. As it is "made" in China, it earns the designation J (Jian, for fighter) -11. In late 2000 a high Shenyang official noted that not all 200 Su-27s might be built and there was other speculation that production would shift to more modern Su-30s. However, by late 2002 production was reaching an impressive rate, with a Russian source stating that Shenyang had at that point built "several dozen" Su-27SKs, or at least 48. Nearly a year later Russian sources noted that another 48 had been assembled from 2002 to 2003. In mid-2002 the Shenyang Aircraft company revealed its intention to build upgraded multi-role versions of the single-seat J-11 by revealing a mock-up armed with Kh-31 ASMs and R-77 AAMs. For a co-production program whose prospects for success were initially greeted with great skepticism in many Western quarters, Shenyang has made impressive progress and appears to be close to producing a new Chinese version of the J-11. The Su-27SK/J-11 will be next in a long line of "Sinicized" Russian fighter designs.

The MD-90 was selected in 1992 as the China Trunkliner for domestic trunk and regional airline routes. In 1994, an amended co-production agreement for 40 aircraft was signed by McDonnell Douglas and the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corp. The agreement called for the production of 20 MD-90s in Shanghai and the direct sale of 20 of the twin jets from Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach. MD-90s were built in China by a manufacturing team that included factories in Xian, Chengdu and Shenyang for component fabrication and subassembly work, and final assembly by Shanghai Aviation Industrial Corp. (SAIC).

SAC in the past had done work for British Aerospace, Airbus, and Lockheed, and currently has a manufacturing sub-assembly venture with Canadian firm Bombardier Aerospace. Their commercial aero-structures also include non-passenger doors for all customers. SAC has imported all parts and raw materials from American suppliers in order to meet required quality control standards. The cooperation with Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, along with smaller projects for airplane companies from Israel, Germany, Canada and the U.K., made up the company's so called "key product line", and form the foundation for SAC's reforms from failing SOE to a market driven corportation.

SAC has produced Boeing hardware since 1990 starting with the 757 cargo doors. Boeing maintained a sizeable expatriate presence in Shenyang to support the project and has built a strong working relationship with the Chinese. The joint production venture with Boeing, the main components of SAC's civilian aircraft section, has two main projects so far, the tail sections and airplane doors, as well as the constructure of a world-class production facility. By 2005 they had a contract for four 737 sub-assemblies used on section 48, delivered to the Wichita Division. On 02 June 2005 Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced agreements with Chinese suppliers worth an estimated US$600 million for production of commercial airplane parts and components, including the first firm contract with such suppliers to build parts for the all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, an AVIC I-affiliated company, signed memorandum of agreement with Boeing to build the 787 leading edge assembly for the vertical fin. For the Next-Generation 737, tail section modules are produced by Shenyang Commercial Aircraft Co.; and for the 787, the leading edge for the 787 vertical fin comes from Shenyang.

Shenyang Aircraft Corporation has been involved in manufacturing parts for Airbus aircraft as well as maintenance tools. The A320 Wing Family Cooperation Programme is a key commitment that Airbus has made to China in terms of technological transfer. In 1999, Airbus signed an agreement with AVIC I, pursuant to which Airbus agreed to transfer the manufacturing technologies and assemblies of the wings of A320 Family aircraft to China. The first phase of the program started in the same year. In November 2002, Airbus signed an agreement with AVIC I to start the second phase of the program, which allowed Xi'an Aircraft Corporation (XAC) and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) to produce the fixed trailing and leading edges respectively. The first ship set of fixed leading edges was delivered in September 2004, while the first ship set of fixed trailing edges was delivered in March 2005, signalling that the second phase is making progress. With up to 30 engineers sent by Airbus to XAC and SAC, the cooperation programme was set to speed up. The leading and trailing edges and wing box technologies are important components of wing production, and play an essential role in aircraft manufacturing.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:47:01 ZULU