Russia, China sign JV agreement to create wide-body aircraft

The two countries also signed agreement on cooperation to build a heavy helicopter.

Russia's United Aircraft Corporation and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) have signed an agreement to set up a joint venture under a program to build a wide-body civil aircraft during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to China on Saturday, an Interfax correspondent reported from the signing ceremony on Saturday.

The two countries also signed intergovernmental agreements on cooperation to build the aircraft and a heavy helicopter.

The signing marks a new stage in implementation of the joint project: the beginning of the aircraft design. 

Russian Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov told reporters: "This is yet another stage. It is now a more advanced stage. Work has continued since 2008. It is that it is going through various stages. First, the marketing. Then, the beginning of a preliminary plan. The next stage is the design proper. The design is about to begin, the preliminary plan needs to be completed."

Speaking of the stakes distribution in the joint venture, he said: "In the heavy aircraft, it will be 50-50. [It will be created] in China in the very near future. That is what has been decided." 

As for the project to build a heavy-lift civil helicopter, the partnership is organized differently, he said. "We are working on the helicopter project. China is the customer, and we are doing a certain part of the design of this helicopter," Manturov said.

Russia and China reached agreement to build a wide-body passenger aircraft back in May 2014. At the time the agreement was signed by UAC and COMAC during the Russian president's visit to China.

It was also reported that Russian Helicopters has been in talks for several years with partners from China's AVIC corporation and Avicopter company over a project to jointly design an advanced heavy-lift (AHL) civil helicopter.

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