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Friday, June 13, 2014

Boeing Taps Japanese Suppliers for 777X Program

Woodrow Bellamy III 

[Aviation Today June 13, 2014] Boeing has reached an agreement with several of Japan's major aircraft component manufacturing companies to supply approximately 21 percent of the major components for its next generation 777X. The agreement was signed between Boeing and Japan Aircraft Industries (JAI) and Japan Aircraft Development Corp. (JADC) to secure five key Japanese companies.

Computer-generated rendering of Boeing 777X. Photo, courtesy of Boeing.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), ShinMaywa Industries (SMIC) and NIPPI Corporation (NIPPI) are all part of JAI and were deleted in order to help Boeing meet its "affordability goals for the 777X," according to a statement from Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. 
"They model the kind of partnership we need from our global suppliers to best serve our customers and meet the changing demands in the marketplace," Conner added. 
Under the agreement, the Japanese manufacturers will provide the fuselage sections, center wing sections, pressure bulkheads, main landing gear wells, wing components and wing-body fairings, and passenger, cargo and main landing gear doors, according to Boeing.
The announcement from Boeing comes as the major competitor to its next generation passenger jet, the Airbus A350 XWB, saw a $16 billion order cancelled by the Dubai-based Emirates Airlines. Emirates is also the biggest customer for the Boeing 777X, placing a $76 billion order for 150 aircraft with 50 options during the Dubai Air Show in the fall of 2013.
Boeing has previously partnered with Japanese suppliers to manufacture previous passenger jets, including the Next-Generation 737, 737 MAX, 747, 767, 777, and 787 Dreamliner. 
George Maffeo, president of Boeing Japan, calls the agreement the formation of a "strategic relationship for decades to come."
"As the 777X is larger than the current 777, the value of the structural components procured from Japan will be proportionately higher, generating more value for our partners as well for Boeing. Together, we are changing and shaping the future of commercial aviation," said Maffeo. 

While Boeing has not yet announced a finalized avionics architecture for the 777X, in May 2013, vice president of marketing and business development Mike Blair told a gathering of investors and analysts in New York that the company was seeking to transfer the major elements of the 787's cockpit avionics to the 777X. The 787 cockpit system features an Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) structure with major systems components provided by Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and General Electric (GE). Boeing will begin production on the 777X in 2017, and is targeting 2020 for its first delivery.  

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