Russia developing aircraft engine for joint passenger jet with China

© Valeriy Melnikov
Construction of a heavy-lift aircraft engine for a Russian-Chinese long-range wide-body aircraft has started, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters on Monday.

"We’ve informed the Chinese side about the beginning of work on Russia's heavy-lift aircraft engine in the thrust segment of up to 35 tons. The decision was made by the Russian president in May, with all the necessary funds allocated", Rogozin said after the meeting of the Russian-Chinese intergovernmental commission.

According to Rogozin, the new plane will have two engines instead of four.

“Neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have ever developed such a powerful engine. They are manufactured only by General Electric and Rolls-Royce," said Rogozin, adding “now this kind of engine will also be developed for the Russian-Chinese joint project."

"All development issues of a new passenger jet will now be solved, because you can't have a plane without an engine," he added.

The memorandum on the creation of a new airliner was signed in 2014 during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China. It is part of a $13 billion aviation cooperation deal.

A specially-created engineering center in Russia will undertake technical and electronics production while the construction of fuselage and the assembly of the airplanes will take place in China.

The new 250-280 seat aircraft will reportedly be a development of the Russian-designed IL-96. It will have a range of 12,000km. According to the managing director of Air Transport Observer magazine, Maksim Pyadushkin, the cost of the plane is estimated at $200-260 million which is similar to the American Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The first planes are expected to be completed by 2023 and to go on sale in 2025.