AirShow China expecting robots, acrobatics

June 11, 2010 at 6:37 AM
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BEIJING, June 11 (UPI) -- China is to exhibit a second-generation example of its Snow Leopard bomb-removal robot at the Eighth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition.

The developer, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, made the announcement but gave few details of the latest version set for display and demonstration during AirShow China 2010 at Zhuhai Airport in the southern Guangdong province from Nov. 16-21.

The Snow Leopard is basically a platform on caterpillar racks but it can climb stairs, CASIC said. It features a hydraulically operated arm with two large flap-like "hands," which CASIC said have the dexterity to safely pick up objects as delicate as a cell phone but also has the strength to handle a 20-pound iron block.

The new version is undergoing tests to make it ready for the Zhuhai exhibition, put on every two years since 1996, and one of the country's premier aviation exhibitions for aerospace and related military and commercial technology.

Also set for AirShow China is a demonstration by Pakistani acrobatic team, the Sherdils, flying their recently acquired K-8 advanced trainers, a joint Pakistan and China project. The K-8 was bought to replace the Sherdils's aging T-37 trainers.

Bombardier, which will exhibit at Zhuhai, said last month that it expects the bulk of its new orders for its regional 100- to 150-seat C-Series commercial passenger aircraft to come from China's fast-growing market.

China already is Bombardier's second biggest market after the United States.

Bombardier officials said they believe China will want more than 6,000 regional aircraft such as the Canadian aircraft maker's single-aisle, five-across C-series within 20 years.

In 2008 Bombardier signed a deal with the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China, to build the mid-section fuselage of the C-Series.

The C-series will compete with Boeing's smaller versions of the 737 and Airbus's A320. The first C-series is scheduled for flight in 2013.

China's aerospace industry is increasingly embarking on joint ventures and partnerships to improve the technology of its aircraft now on the drawing board, such as the Chinese C919, a 168- to 190-seat competitor to the Bombardier, Boeing and Airbus airplanes.

Test flights for the single-aisle C919 are expected in 2014 and first deliveries likely in 2016.

In April Parker Aerospace, a division of Parker Hannifin Corp., was selected by Commercial A Aircraft Corporation of China to supply a fly-by-wire flight control system for the COMAC C919. Parker will also supply the hydraulic, fuel and inerting systems.

In May French firm Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse was selected by COMAC to develop and supply the integrated air management system for the C919. These include systems for bleed air, air conditioning, air distribution and cabin pressure control.

Liebherr-Aerospace will install wing anti-ice systems and the avionics ventilation system. It is working in cooperation with Nanjing Engineering Institute of Aircraft System.

COMAC also selected Kidde Aerospace and Defense, a Hamilton Sundstrand business unit, to provide fire and overheat protection systems. The program value over the life of the aircraft is worth more than $250 million to Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

Kidde will supply engine and auxiliary power unit fire detectors, wheel-well and bleed-duct overheat monitoring sensors, cargo and lavatory smoke detectors, fixed fire extinguishers for the engines and portable fire extinguishers for the cockpit and cabin.

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