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Japan’s first passenger jet makes maiden test flight 

Japan's first passenger jet makes maiden test flight 

Nagoya, November 11, 2015 –
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) today conducted the first flight of the first flight test aircraft for the MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet), their next-generation regional jet.

The MRJ took off from Nagoya Airport and confirmed its basic characteristics and functionality in ascent, descent and turning in airspace off the Pacific coast during its 1.5-hour first flight.

“The MRJ successfully took to the sky today thanks to ongoing cooperation and support from all members involved,” said Hiromichi Morimoto, President, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation. “We will make our utmost efforts towards type certificate acquisition, committing all our resources to develop and produce the finest regional jet aircraft to enter commercial service in 2017.”

“Operational performance of the MRJ was far better than expected. We had a significantly comfortable flight,” said Pilot Yasumura, who served as captain.

Mitsubishi Aircraft and MHI will continue to conduct flight tests for the first delivery scheduled for the second quarter of 2017. The flight tests in the US are scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2016, from the MRJ base at Grant County International Airport at Moses Lake in Washington State.

Going forward, Mitsubishi Aircraft and MHI continue to devote their collective resources towards the successful completion of the MRJ project.The unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which built the World War Two-era Zero fighter, is hoping the $47-million regional jet will help it oust Canada’s Bombardier Inc as the world’s second-biggest maker of smaller passenger jets behind Brazil’s Embraer SA.

The MRJ is Japan’s first commercial passenger aircraft since the 64-seat YS-11 entered service 50 years ago. The first MRJ is slated for delivery in June 2017 to Japan’s biggest carrier, ANA Holdings. Mitsubishi aims eventually to sell more than 2,000 aircraft in the competitive market segment. Mitsubishi says the MRJ burns a fifth less fuel than aircraft of similar size, thanks to new-generation engines from Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

Japan’s last attempt to establish itself as a commercial aircraft maker ended in failure. Production of the YS-11, built by a consortium that included Mitsubishi Heavy, finished after only 182 planes were built.

That program however helped Mitsubishi Heavy and other companies forge ties with Boeing Co, turning them into major suppliers and partners of the U.S. aircraft maker and helping revive an aerospace industry that was dismantled after World War Two.

Features : 

Clean Sheet Innovation born from freedom , A clean sheet can be liberating. No preexisting platforms to conform to. No parts bins to raid. The results are the most efficient, comfortable and reliable 70- and 90-seat jets to ever take flight.

Clean sheet advantages

  • Highest fuel efficiency
  • Lowest environmental impact
  • Most passenger comfort
  • Designed to increase reliability

Engine

MRJ is proud to be the launch customer for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower® Geared Turbofan™ engine which was optimized specifically for the MRJ. The new gear system allows the fan, low pressure compressor and turbine to rotate at optimum speeds which enables engine to have game-changing fuel efficiency. In addition, its Geared Turbofan™ engine architecture requires 60% fewer turbine airfoils than conventional turbofan engines and reduces maintenance time and cost.

Newest Flight Deck

A new view on the horizon . The most advanced, full fly-by-wire, flight deck available today is right at home aboard the MRJ. Featuring the Pro Line Fusion® system, the latest in avionics technology from Rockwell Collins, the MRJ’s flight deck maximizes situational awareness with four 15-inch landscape LCDs that deliver unprecedented clarity and information.

Cabin 

The modern and stylish cabin of the MRJ introduces new values in the interior comfort of regional jet aircraft. Passengers will be very comfortable as the MRJ will provide wide cabin space, comfortable slim seats, large overhead bins, and lavatory for passengers with reduced mobility.

  • Mainline jet comfort
  • Ample head & foot clearance at the seat
  • Large overhead bin
  • Lavatory for passengers with reduced mobility

MRJ90 versions

MRJ90 Variants MRJ90STD MRJ90ER MRJ90LR
Passengers 88 (Typical single

class at 31″ pitch)Cargo Compartmentm3 (ft3)18.2 (644)Engine
Pratt & Whitney

PurePower®

PW1217G EngineEngine ThrustkN (lbf)78.2 (17,600) x 2Maximum Takeoff Weightkg (lb)39,600 (87,303)40,995 (90,378)42,800 (94,358)Maximum Landing Weightkg (lb)38,000 (83,776)38,000 (83,776)38,000 (83,776)Maximum Zero Fuel Weightkg (lb)36,150 (79,697)36,150 (79,697)36,150 (79,697)Range @ 88PAX x 102kg (225lb)km (nm)2,120 (1,150)2,870 (1,550)3,770 (2,040)Maximum Operating Mach Number
M 0.78M 0.78M 0.78Maximum Operating Altitudem (ft)11,900 (39,000)11,900 (39,000)11,900 (39,000)Takeoff Field Length (MTOW, SL, ISA)m (ft)1,490 (4,890)1,600 (5,250)1,740 (5,710)Landing Field Length (MLW, Dry)m (ft)1,480 (4,860)1,480 (4,860)1,480 (4,860)

So far it has secured 223 firm orders, most recently in January when Japan Airlines asked for 32 planes. The biggest single purchase, for 100 aircraft, was from U.S. regional airline operator Trans State Holdings. Those Japanese companies build 35 percent of Boeing’s advanced 787 carbon-composite jetliner, including the wings, the most complex part. Japan’s biggest carmaker, Toyota Motor Corp, and largest trading company, Mitsubishi Corp, each own a 10 percent stake in the MRJ venture.

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Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan is embarking on an ambitious endeavor to bolster its air defense capabilities with the acquisition and potential local production of the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet.

Talks are reportedly underway between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the developer of the FC-31, signaling a significant leap forward for Pakistan’s military aviation prowess.

The FC-31, a mid-sized, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter, promises advanced air combat capabilities, including stealth technology that surpasses anything currently in the PAF‘s fleet. With plans to retire the JF-17 production line by 2030, the FC-31 could emerge as the new flagship aircraft, offering unmatched performance and versatility.

Experts speculate that Pakistan’s interest in the FC-31 could also signal broader implications for the international market. As China develops both land and carrier versions of the FC-31, analysts foresee it becoming a cost-effective alternative to pricier options like the F-35, potentially challenging the dominance of the US aerospace industry and reshaping global strategic rivalries.

Adding complexity to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine, previously rejected for the JF-17 but now under consideration for both the FC-31 and future JF-17 variants. Engine standardization could streamline logistical and maintenance processes for the PAF, further enhancing the appeal of the FC-31.

While negotiations continue, the success of the FC-31 acquisition and local production hinges on several factors, including the outcome of the WS-13 engine discussions. Pakistan’s pursuit of the FC-31 comes amidst its eagerness to replace its aging fleet, with previous attempts to upgrade its F-16s by the United States due to geopolitical pressures.

Amidst these developments, Pakistan previous interest in the Turkish-made Kaan fifth-generation fighter underscores its eagerness to replace its aging fleet. Despite previous attempts to secure upgrades for its F-16s from the United States, Pakistan’s quest for advanced aerial capabilities has led it to explore alternative avenues, with the FC-31 emerging as a promising contender in its pursuit of air superiority.

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Aviation

China’s Indigenous HH-100 UAS Successfully Completes First Flight

China’s Indigenous HH-100 UAS Successfully Completes First Flight

In a significant milestone for China’s aviation industry, the HH-100 aerial commercial unmanned transportation system successfully completed its maiden flight, as announced by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) on Wednesday.

The HH-100 demonstrator took to the skies for its inaugural flight at a general aviation airport in Xi’an, located in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. This successful test was conducted by AVIC, China’s leading aircraft manufacturer, marking a pivotal step in the development of the country’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities.

Developed independently by AVIC XAC Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of AVIC based in Xi’an, the HH-100 consists of two main components: an unmanned aerial vehicle and a ground-based command-and-control station. This innovative system is designed to offer a cost-effective, high-payload solution for various transportation and logistical needs.

The HH-100 is notable for its low cost and large tonnage capabilities. With a designed maximum take-off weight of 2,000 kilograms and a payload capacity of 700 kilograms, it can transport approximately 4 cubic meters of cargo over a range of 520 kilometers. The drone’s maximum cruise speed is 300 kilometers per hour, and it can operate at altitudes up to 5,000 meters.

Primarily intended for feeder logistics, the HH-100 is also equipped to participate in a variety of other roles, including forest and grassland firefighting, fire monitoring, transportation and delivery of rescue materials, relay communication, and artificial rain enhancement. This versatility makes it a valuable asset in both commercial and emergency response operations.

Looking ahead, AVIC plans to develop a series of products based on the HH-100 platform, with models capable of carrying 5 tons, 10 tons, and even larger payloads. These future developments aim to meet the growing demand for large-scale, intelligent, low-cost, and highly reliable unmanned cargo planes.

The HH-100’s successful first flight marks an important achievement for AVIC and China’s aviation sector, showcasing the potential of homegrown technology to advance the country’s capabilities in unmanned aerial transportation. With its impressive range of features and applications, the HH-100 is poised to play a significant role in enhancing air-ground transportation connectivity and addressing various logistical challenges in the region.

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Aviation

Russia’s Venture into Spare Parts Production for Western-Made Jets

Russia's Venture into Spare Parts Production for Western-Made Jets

In a strategic move to mitigate the challenges posed by the shortage of spare parts for foreign-made passenger aircraft, Russian carriers are charting a new course by turning to domestic alternatives. At the forefront of this shift are two groundbreaking projects unveiled at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 6.

Leading the charge is Protektor Group, a prominent Russian MRO provider, which has committed a substantial investment of RUB3.5 billion ($39 million) to establish a cutting-edge facility near Moscow Domodedovo airport.

This facility is slated to specialize in the production of spare parts tailored for Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 narrowbody jets, with operations expected to commence in 2026. With a projected workforce of 800 employees, the facility aims to address the pressing demand for critical components in the aviation sector.

This initiative aligns seamlessly with broader governmental endeavors outlined in June 2022, which envisioned the manufacture of 1,036 airplanes using solely Russian parts by 2030. Bolstering this ambition, the state allocated a substantial sum of 283 billion rubles (U.S. $3.1 billion) in January 2024 to propel the production of 609 aircraft, with a particular emphasis on medium-haul models.

Protektor’s trajectory towards this pivotal milestone has been marked by notable achievements, including receiving production organization approval from Rosaviatsia in 2024. Prior to this, the company had earned certification for the overhaul of landing gear for Boeing 737s, solidifying its position as a trusted entity in aircraft maintenance.

Beyond the realm of spare parts production, the Russian aviation industry is poised for a significant transformation as it gears up to redefine its identity. Sergey Chemezov, the head of Rostec, the state-owned conglomerate overseeing aerospace, engineering, and defense sectors, has unveiled ambitious plans to resurrect the renowned ‘Yakovlev‘ brand. This rebranding initiative extends across the spectrum of Russian-made airliners, signaling a new era of innovation and prominence.

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