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Russia Launches PD-35 Heavy Engine Development

Feb 9,2018

Russia¡¯s United Engine Corporation (UEC) hopes to supply its future PD-35 engine for the Russo-Chinese CR929 widebody airliner. The manufacturer officially launched the new powerplant development at its Perm-based subsidiary Aviadvigatel. The contract, signed in December 2017, calls for the engine to meet both Russian and Chinese airworthiness and certification requirements. The development costs are estimated at 64.3 billion rubles (about US$1.2 billion).


A UEC official confirmed to ShowNews that the company was included in the list of the CR929¡¯s potential suppliers. ¡°The corporation is currently preparing a technical proposal for the aircraft designer,¡± he said.


The CR929 is being developed by China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation (CRAIC), a joint venture between Comac and United Aircraft Corporation. It was established in May 2017 with headquarters in Shanghai but officially took over management of the program in December. 


At the same time, the program passed Gate 2 stage, which included the review of the aircraft engineering concept. The next phase starting in 2018 will be detailed design and the selection of suppliers. 


¡°Suppliers will be selected within the next one to 1.5 years,¡± said UAC. The initial engine suppliers are likely to be General Electric or Rolls-Royce, but the Russian engine is expected to be added at a later stage.


The development of the PD-35 is expected to be completed by 2025, says UEC. Its technology demonstrator prototype will be assembled and tested in 2023. It should reach 35 tons thrust at takeoff mode during bench tests. 


UEC specifies that the PD-35 program will require the development of several key technologies, such as composite fan blades and large-size engine nacelles, a new efficient high-pressure compressor and a low-emission combustion chamber. The Russian manufacturer insists that PD-35 parameters meet CR929 requirements.


The CR929 development and certification could take up to 10 years. The aircraft¡¯s basic variant will be able to carry up to 280 passengers at a range of 12,000 km (7,500 mi.). UAC and COMAC forecast a worldwide demand for 7,000 widebody airliners valued at about US$1.5 trillion in 2023-45.


The CR929 clearly looks like a major goal for the PD-35, as Russia currently has no domestic platforms for such a powerplant. But UEC says this engine can also be installed on future heavy transport aircraft. One of the development goals calls for the use of PD-35 technologies for development of future engines with 25- to 50-tons-thrust range. It has been known that UEC will present at the upcoming 3rd Commercial Aero Engine Shanghai International Forum on May 15th to 16th in Shanghai, sharing their latest research and developing information of the feasible aero engine PD-35.



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