Boeing Co. will base design and development work for its proposed new 7E7 jetliner at its massive Everett manufacturing complex, but Japanese suppliers will build more than a third of the aircraft, including major wing components.

Boeing on Thursday confirmed earlier reports that three Japanese companies will play a significantly larger role in manufacturing the fuel-efficient jet than in earlier Boeing models and will handle the complicated wing production, previously done almost entirely in-house.

The Japanese companies will provide about 35 percent of the 7E7. Currently, Boeing’s Japanese partners build about 21 percent of the Boeing 777 airframe, and 15 percent of the 767.

Chicago-based Boeing has said the new midsize fuel-efficient airplane will be assembled in the United States, but has not announced where. Boeing currently builds three widebody jet models at its Everett, Wash., factory.

The 7E7 program headquarters and development and design-integration center will be in Everett, Boeing said.

Boeing, through its divisions in Frederickson, Wash.; Tulsa, Okla.; Wichita, Kan.; and other locations, also will manufacture about 35 percent of the aircraft, including the vertical fin, flight deck and forward fuselage.

Two other suppliers, Alenia Aeronautica of Italy and Vought Aircraft Industries of Dallas, will build much of the rest of the plane’s body.

Boeing is conducting a nationwide search to determine where to assemble the 7E7 and is expected to announce the winning site by the end of the year. The plant would employ about 800 to 1,200 people. A number of states, including Washington, have been trying to lure the site with tax packages and other incentives.

Boeing said it would build the plane’s vertical tail fin in Frederickson, near Tacoma and about 50 miles south of the Everett plant. The fixed and movable leading edges of the wing will be built at its Tulsa plant, the flight deck and part of the forward fuselage section at Wichita, the movable trailing edges at its Australian plant and the wing-to-body fairing at its Winnipeg, Canada, factory.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will be responsible for the wing box. Kawasaki Heavy Industries will provide the remaining part of the forward fuselage, the main landing-gear wheel well and the main wing fixed trailing edge. Fuji Heavy Industries will make the center wing box.

Vought and Alenia will build the horizontal stabilizer and the center and aft fuselage, about 26 percent of the 7E7 structure.

Boeing said about 4 percent of the structure work remains to be awarded to subcontractors.

A decision on who will supply the engines for the aircraft is expected by the middle of next year, Boeing said.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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