China’s AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Co. (ACAC) last month signed a letter of intent with GE Aircraft Engines that calls for the use of GE’s CF34-10A turbofan to power the proposed ARJ21 regional jet. The CF34-10A engine, scheduled for introduction early in 2004 with the Embraer 190-200, would power both the 79-passenger and the 99-passenger variants of the ARJ21 under the terms of the agreement.
Rated to produce 18,500 lb of thrust, the GE engine won a propulsion competition that included the Rolls-Royce BR710, the Pratt & Whitney PW800 and Snecma’s proposed SM146. Although the -10 represents a considerable capability increase over other CF34 models, it incorporates many parts scaled from the CFM56-7 and CF34-8 and the same basic design philosophy of the CF34-3 series and -8 series engines, making it a relatively low-risk choice, according to GE.
Scheduled for certification in 2006, the proposed ARJ21 would feature five-abreast seating, a standard range of 1,200 nm, a cruise speed of Mach 0.80, Western avionics and a supercritical wing designed by Ukraine’s Antonov. Expected to add some 1,900 airplanes to its fleets over the next 20 years, China represents a potential market worth $165 billion, according to Boeing, which estimates that 77 percent of the demand would involve single-aisle airplanes such as the ARJ21.
partial mockup of the ARJ21 appeared at last month’s Zuhai Air Show, where Chinese officials revealed a plan to build major components at factories in Xian, Shenyang and Chengdu, while the Shanghai Airplane Manufacturing Plant assumes responsibility for assembly and administration.