COMAC is the main organization that is facilitating the building of large passenger aircraft in China. The company is mandated with the overall planning and development of trunk liner and regional jet programs, as well as the industrialization of civil aircraft. It is building the new C919 jet, which will use aluminum-lithium alloys and composites in its airframe structures.
COMAC also recently signed a long-term collaboration agreement with Bombardier. Initially, the companies will collaborate on four projects that recognize the similarities between the C919 and Bombardier's CSeries family of commercial airliners. One of the projects is developing standards and specifications for the use of aluminum-lithium in aircraft.
Several different companies and organizations jointly own COMAC, including the Aluminum Corporation of China, also known as China Aluminum Corp. (CHINALCO or CHINCO). CHINALCO has reportedly announced the third generation of its 540mm aluminum-lithium alloy for use in large aircraft.
The company has spent several years in R&D working on aluminum alloys for China's aerospace industry. The new alloy represents a breakthrough for China, and for its aerospace industry, since the production of aluminum-lithium has long been dominated by suppliers in other countries, the company's senior managers said.
Beth, that's a really, good question that no one is answering. The partnership appears to be aimed at the first possibility: growing the commercial Chinese aircraft market. What Boeing will get out of this is not clear--it may or may not be a cheaper source of aircraft production. That would make a lot of sense--and take away more US jobs.
Excellent point, TJ. While China can definitely bring a lot to the table and collaborative efforts are inherently good for industry, there are definite red flags that require close attention. Intellectual property in the aerospace sector certainly has longer legs than IP in the fast-paced world of consumer electronics so it's an issue that requires viligence as part of the partnership terms.
Ann, it seems that like in other areas Chinese government wants an upper hand in avionic sector too. That could be the one reason for Chinese companies for a joint venture in R&D and major investments. anyway they have a major stake in Hardware and associated areas
Good story, Ann. I agree with Beth, this is an interesting development. On the surface, it looks like a good move to involve China in U.S. industry. I would imagine Boeing will be very, very careful with its IP. This could be a good step toward maturity for China's airline industry.
Interesting development and and another example of China's manufacturing and development muscle reaching into every important industry segment. Does this partnership spell more aircraft production to serve the Chinese commercial aircraft market or does it portend China playing a bigger role in providing aircraft for the global commercial aircraft industry at large, or both?
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