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China's top aircraft manufacturer in partnership with Safran, GE
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11:05, September 24, 2009

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Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China's top aircraft manufacturer, has announced cooperation plans with Safran and GE, aimed chiefly at boosting the country's homemade jumbo jet program, China Daily reported Thursday.

The C919, China's largest domestically manufactured jetliner that is expected to take off in 2016, will source parts and components globally, but foreign suppliers are encouraged to enter into partnerships with Chinese manufacturers, the newspaper said, citing Wu Guanghui, chief designer and deputy general manager of the Shanghai-based Commercial Aviation Corporation (COMAC), which is producing the jet.

AVIC and France-based Safran Group signed Wednesday a framework agreement to extend their partnership. The agreement includes establishing new facilities in China based on both sides' existing assets, and cooperating on all aspects of a production line, from design, production, assembly, to support.

The short-term targets focus on producing landing and braking systems and nacelles (engine compartment) for the C919. The subsidiaries of Safran and AVIC will together submit a joint proposal to COMAC for landing and braking systems on the C919, according to a news release by Safran.

Meanwhile, AVIC, GE and Safran signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday on setting up a joint venture that designs and manufactures engine nacelles and components for a full range of aircraft applications including the home-made jumbo jet C919.

The new joint venture is between AVIC Aircraft Corporation and Nexcelle - a nacelle joint venture company created by GE's Middle River Aircraft Systems and Aircelle, a Safran group company.

AVIC Aircraft and Nexcelle will have equal stakes in the venture. Both the dollar value and the location of the undertaking have not been disclosed.

The first target of the new joint venture would be the C919 project, the newspaper said, citing Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems.

The engine nacelle technology is one of the fundamental elements in an aircraft's performance, efficiency and environmental footprint.

Source: Xinhua

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