Comac C919: China’s Answer to the Boeing 737
Boeing and the People’s Republic of China have a long and healthy relationship that stretches back 2,000 jets. But there may be trouble in paradise, and it comes in the form of the Comac C919, China’s first domestically built jetliner.
The Comac C919 Specs
The C919 is a narrow-body twinjet airliner that first took flight on May 5, 2017. Powered by CFM International LEAP or ACAE CJ-1000A turbofan engines, the C919 seats 168 passengers, just short of 737-800 and with similar range.
Though the C919’s primary competitor will be the Boeing 737, the most popular commercial jet of all time, it will also compete with the Bombardier CS300, Airbus A320, the Irkut MC-21-300, and the Embraer E195.
The C919 is the centerpiece of a burgeoning domestic aviation industry in China, but in reality many of the components come from abroad.
Comac is turning to GE for the flight data recorders, Michelin for the tires, Liebherr for the wing anti-ice system, GE and Safran for the engines, Rockwell Collins for the weather radar, and Honeywell for the communications and navigations systems.
As of August 2018, Comac has over 100 commitments and 305 firm orders. Originally slated to enter service in 2019, the C919 is now encountering delays and a launch date is still unknown.
On the military front, China also has also recently developed an answer to the USAF F-35 — the Chengdu J-20 single-seat, dual-engine stealth fighter.