China’s Avic I Commercial Aircraft Co. (ACAC) may carry out final assembly of the General Electric CF34-10A turbofan powering the ARJ21 regional jet if talks between the two companies bear fruit.
It would be the first time a Chinese manufacturer has taken on final assembly of a commercial engine designed in the West and would reflect China’s long-term intention to develop an aero-engine design and manufacturing capability.
“We’re having discussions on a number of potential ways of cooperating, one of which includes final assembly,” says the U.S. company. “It’s an Avic I decision.”
Chinese companies already manufacture a number of components for Western civil engines and have for many years assembled and maintained Russian military engines powering their combat aircraft.
One Western manufacturer told Aviation International News that it is “only a matter of time” before China acquires enough engine manufacturing expertise to design and manufacture its own engine. Another was more sceptical, however. “Modern commercial engines require extremely challenging technology. You don’t develop that sort of capability overnight.”