U.S. Adds Comac to DOD Sanctions List

 - January 15, 2021, 9:53 AM
CFM Leap-1C turbofans power the Comac C919. (Photo: Comac)

The U.S. Department of Defense on Friday added Comac among eight other Chinese companies to its list of civil entities that allegedly contribute advanced technologies to China’s effort to modernize the People’s Liberation Army. The list of companies, the initial iteration of which the DOD released to Congress in June 2020, includes several other Chinese aerospace companies such as Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), maker of the MA-700 regional turboprop.

The move comes days before the end of the Trump Administration and the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden, who will inherit the heightened tensions between the U.S. and China resulting from an executive order banning Americans from investing in Chinese firms owned or deemed controlled by the Chinese military.

Among other restrictions, the ban requires U.S. investors in any of the companies on the list to withdraw their holdings by November 11.

Depending on what position the Biden administration takes, the inclusion of Comac on the list could threaten the viability of the C919 narrowbody and ARJ21 regional jet given their U.S. content, most notably their engines and avionics. CFM Leap-1Cs power the C919 and GE CF34s power the ARJ21. Collins Aerospace and Honeywell contribute to the programs’ respective avionics and flight controls.