Chinese Aviation Industry


Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
FBW

Hmmm, being labeled "that guy" is better than some of the things I've been called in this stream.

FBW is, for the most part, a generic technology that can be applied across different aircraft. In the west, you find Dassault's FBW informing both the Rafale and the Falcon family of business jets - which are incidentally produced on the same line. Embraer's FBW for the KC-390 benefits from its experience both with E-Jets, but also Airbus programmes.

If China is so brilliant at FBW - as everyone in the forum casually assumes - then why use external suppliers for high profile civilian programmes? Parker in the case of MA700, Honeywell with ARJ21 and C919. Sure, certification is one reason, but learning is another. Moreover, Civil-Military fusion is a high priority across all industries in China, aerospace foremost.

So, in the case of XAC, there will be significant learnings from working with Parker on FBW. Given that engineering personnel in aerospace outfits tend to work across a number of programs - especially given that MA700 is a dead duck owing to its lack of engines, so not much going on there - it is entirely reasonable to assume that there is some interplay between military/civilian programmes.

Let's flip this around. How can you categorically, definitively state there is absolutely no FBW interplay whatsoever between the MA700 and H-20 programmes? Do you work in the HR office at XAC? Are you part of the H-20 FBW design team?

No, the nature of this discussion puts the onus of providing evidence squarely on you. You are the one making the spectacular claim that is going against general common sense and challenges the null hypothesis here, so you are the one that has the make the evidence, and you don't have the right to demand others to prove a negative.

But I'll indulge you a little.

It is very obvious why a nation that previously has produced very few commercial aircraft may seek foreign companies with experience in commercial systems (with the requisite experience in certification/regulation, commercial maturity, and commercial commonality) to provide subsystems for a commercial aircraft. That's because the flight control system/FBW system (or indeed, any particular subsystem you want to think of) for a military aircraft -- regardless of how much more sophisticated it is compared to that of a commercial aircraft -- does not have to meet those same commercial criteria to try to achieve commercial success with minimal risk.
The logistical, certification, marketplace and customer requirements for a flying wing stealth bomber is massively different to a small or medium sized commercial passenger aircraft.

In essence, you are mistaking customer and marketplace requirements of commercial aircraft and equating it with wholesale technological advancement or capability, and your entire argument only makes sense based on that assumption.

I don't know why you've chosen this particular this hill to defend, but I commend your persistence.
 

Fedupwithlies

Junior Member
Registered Member
Sorry that you think I write "arrogantly." From now on I'll use an emoticon at the end of every sentence. :)

Honeywell produces FBW for ARJ21 and C919. :)

Not according to this for the ARJ21

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Says its Collins Aerospace.

C919 is Honeywell thought.

Both are American companies, but they're separate.

Also, no chance any of that's going onto any Chinese military plane.
 
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gadgetcool5

Junior Member
Registered Member
If you stretch the definition enough, anything can be said to support "military" programs. At one point you've effectively made a decision that China shouldn't be able to achieve normal civilian economic development, and once that becomes the goal, then you've lost the moral high ground.
 

Fedupwithlies

Junior Member
Registered Member
Also since we're on the topic of aircraft software, I'd suggest everyone brush up on the Pratt and Whitney Canada helping China develop the Z-10 and the fallout from that.

Here's an article from 2012 that covers it: (Boy... this shit's been going on for a while, eh?)

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Pull quote regarding ITAR: "So many products rely on technologies that can be classified as “dual use” that “it’s to the point where it’s impossible to tell how much falls under ITAR,” said Bobbi. “It requires a lot of oversight.”

Some of the comments are also illuminating since it appears some of them also work in ITAR-restricted companies. This was also in 2012 when the propaganda campaign against China and Chinese was only getting started so there's a fair few more level-headed comments as opposed to what we have now which is basically in la-la land.

The TL;DR if you're too lazy to read though is, Pratt and Whitney Canada sold AVIC helicopter engines with US engine control software.
The issue is that the US software can't be sold to China for military purposes. China told P&WC that the engines would be "dual use" - both for civilian and military use, but no civilian helicopter ever emerged.

So, you know, KFX isn't completely out there. In fact the scenario he's describing has happened.

There's a few caveats though:

The company P&WC was Canadian - they're not subject to ITAR, it was only the US software to their engines that came under it. That was how they were able to play fast and loose in the first place. I don't think any of the companies KFX named, all of which are American, would have any sort of wiggle room to break ITAR.

And even if they were willing to break ITAR - and I need to stress, they would have to know 100% they were breaking ITAR - they wouldn't want to let Chinese engineers be able to copy their software. Not just for military use, but they wouldn't want to introduce another competitor in the civilian field.

So I don't think the Chinese engineers would be allowed to learn anything from the software being provided by the American companies, whether civil or military.

The software would come bundled with hardware that's almost plug-and-play, with western engineers doing troubleshooting and initialization. The American companies would be incentivized to make it as hard as possible to reverse-engineer this software and make sure it can't be used by the Chinese Military by 1. Commercial and Economics (no competitor) and 2. ITAR (US defense concerns).
 

latenlazy

Brigadier
Also since we're on the topic of aircraft software, I'd suggest everyone brush up on the Pratt and Whitney Canada helping China develop the Z-10 and the fallout from that.

Here's an article from 2012 that covers it: (Boy... this shit's been going on for a while, eh?)

Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!

Pull quote regarding ITAR: "So many products rely on technologies that can be classified as “dual use” that “it’s to the point where it’s impossible to tell how much falls under ITAR,” said Bobbi. “It requires a lot of oversight.”

Some of the comments are also illuminating since it appears some of them also work in ITAR-restricted companies. This was also in 2012 when the propaganda campaign against China and Chinese was only getting started so there's a fair few more level-headed comments as opposed to what we have now which is basically in la-la land.

The TL;DR if you're too lazy to read though is, Pratt and Whitney Canada sold AVIC helicopter engines with US engine control software.
The issue is that the US software can't be sold to China for military purposes. China told P&WC that the engines would be "dual use" - both for civilian and military use, but no civilian helicopter ever emerged.

So, you know, KFX isn't completely out there. In fact the scenario he's describing has happened.

There's a few caveats though:

The company P&WC was Canadian - they're not subject to ITAR, it was only the US software to their engines that came under it. That was how they were able to play fast and loose in the first place. I don't think any of the companies KFX named, all of which are American, would have any sort of wiggle room to break ITAR.

And even if they were willing to break ITAR - and I need to stress, they would have to know 100% they were breaking ITAR - they wouldn't want to let Chinese engineers be able to copy their software. Not just for military use, but they wouldn't want to introduce another competitor in the civilian field.

So I don't think the Chinese engineers would be allowed to learn anything from the software being provided by the American companies, whether civil or military.

The software would come bundled with hardware that's almost plug-and-play, with western engineers doing troubleshooting and initialization. The American companies would be incentivized to make it as hard as possible to reverse-engineer this software and make sure it can't be used by the Chinese Military by 1. Commercial and Economics (no competitor) and 2. ITAR (US defense concerns).
If you use western engines it makes sense to use the engine control software that was developed with the engines. When you develop FBW for a plane that FBW system is ultimately tailored to the aerodynamic particulars of the plane. China’s plane designs are unique from western plane designs, so their aerodynamic particulars must be unique as well, which means their FBW software can’t be ported. It’s nonsensical to worry about copying a FBW software for a specific plane design to be used for some other design. Furthermore, the plane in question is already Chinese. The idea that FBW software specifically developed for the C919 could have military applications is pretty nonsense, as is the idea that China couldn’t have or can’t developed the FBW for the C919 with a domestic firm, given that they’ve independently done FBW for far more aerodynamically complicated planes. This PW example is a poor fit for the actual situation being discussed.
 

gelgoog

Major
Registered Member
Regardless of how generic the FBW software might be it needs to be configured and optimized for the particular aircraft airframe and configuration. The claim that a FBW software for a twin engine turboprop with a high mounted wing is usable on a quad engine flying wing is spurious to begin with. When you add to that the consideration that China has had more similar aircraft to the bomber operating like the Y-20 which already have native FBW, or even flying wing drones, which also need FBW software, all of which predate the MA700 it makes the argument even more nonsensical.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada FADEC software case is quite different. China does use Pratt & Whitney engines in several helicopter airframes which are basically dual purpose civil/military. The PT6C-67C engine talked about in the article is used in the Airbus H175/Avicopter AC352 helicopter for example. The Chinese variant isn't even supposed to use that engine but the European designed Turbomeca Ardiden 3C engine licensed as WZ16 instead. The civilian Avicopter AC313 also uses Pratt & Whitney engines and is the basis of the Z-18 military helicopter which uses different Chinese based engines based on licensed European engines. Given all current Chinese helicopter engine programs I think the claims about the FADEC software ending up in the Z-10 are a bit spurious to begin with they should already have FADEC software from the Ardiden license if they hadn't had it already. It might have helped improve the performance of early modern Chinese helicopters like Z-10 or Z-20 and it might have not. From my understanding they might have needed to configurate the FADEC of some Pratt & Whitney engines used in the Z-10 prototype to get it to work, but production versions use Chinese engines which don't even have same engine power so I doubt they are same engine design.
 
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by78

Lieutenant General
The electrical systems test platform for the AG600 amphibious plane.

51713302464_d80ff39223_o.jpg
 

Overbom

Captain
Registered Member
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China's aviation regulator said on Friday that there is still a huge amount of testing to be done for the home-grown narrowbody C919 aircraft to be certified, raising doubt over planemaker COMAC's year-end target.
So far, the C919, China's attempt to rival Airbus SE and Boeing Co, has completed only 34 certification tests out of 276 planned, Yang Zhenmei, a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) official, told reporters.
 

AF-1

Junior Member
Registered Member
This doesnt have much sence, since they were talking about introducing it to customers by year end, how could be that percentage of certifying is so low?
I asume it is related to something else, like replacing most of the foreign parts/systems and recertify them all again?
 

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