**Update:** Mitsubishi Launches Regional Jet Program
TOKYO --- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) officially launched the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), a next-generation regional jetliner, on March 28. Beginning April 1, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (tentative name), a new company established by MHI to conduct MRJ business, will accelerate the MRJ's development and further strengthen sales activities to potential customers worldwide.
As Japan's first company to manufacture and market original passenger jetliners, Mitsubishi Aircraft will fulfill a long-cherished wish of the Japanese aircraft industry, leveraging technological expertise that MHI has built up through its aerospace business.
Mitsubishi Aircraft will be responsible for various key activities in the MRJ project, including the jetliner's design, acquisition of type certification (T/C), procurement, sales and customer support. MHI's Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works will manufacture both the prototype aircraft and production models; it will also be in charge of the MRJ's flight testing.
Mitsubishi Aircraft was established as a wholly owned subsidiary of MHI capitalized at 3 billion yen (common stock and capital reserve), with plans calling for an increase up to 100 billion yen in line with business operations development. MHI plans to furnish roughly two-thirds of the requisite capital, and to secure the remaining equity investment it has approached companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Corporation and the Development Bank of Japan. Mitsubishi Aircraft, headquartered in Nagoya, is to start with approximately 200 employees. Nobuo Toda, Director and Senior Vice President at MHI, has been named its first president.
The MRJ is a 70–90 seat class regional jet currently being developed by MHI with cutting-edge technology that will enable dual achievement of top-class operational economy and outstanding cabin comfort. The MRJ will be the first regional jet to adopt composite materials for its wings and vertical fins on significant scale. In combination with new engines and an advanced aerodynamic design, the aircraft is being planned to reduce fuel consumption substantially and to contribute greatly to enhanced competitiveness and lower operating costs for the airline companies.
Since deciding on authorization to offer (ATO) the MRJ in October 2007, MHI has been conducting full-scale marketing activities worldwide. Based on positive responses from potential customers, including an order for 25 aircraft (15 firm, 10 optional) from All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd., MHI has now decided to formally launch the MRJ program, targeting the aircraft's entry into service in 2013. MHI, by getting the country's domestic passenger jet business, which is seen to have high growth potential, off the ground with sales expansion of the MRJ overseas – a feat enabled by its having secured cooperation from entities including trading houses and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) – aims to contribute to this ongoing development of Japan's industries.
Among the major partners in the MRJ program, Pratt & Whitney will supply its most advanced, highly efficient Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engines. Other major companies participating are: Parker Aerospace, to supply the aircraft's hydraulic system; Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation, furnishing various systems, including electrical power, air management and auxiliary power units; Rockwell Collins, providing the flight control computers and avionics; Nabtesco Corporation, to furnish the flight control actuators; and Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd., supplying the landing gear.
Going forward MHI will continue to devote its utmost effort to the promotion of its MRJ business and penetration of the aircraft into the global market.
Outline of the new company for MRJ business
- Company name: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (tentative name
- Major activities: Development and design of commercial aircraft, acquisition of type certification (T/C), procurement, sales, customer support, etc
- Capital (common stock and capital reserve): 3 billion yen
- President: Nobuo Toda (currently Director & Senior Vice President at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.)
- Main office: Oye-cho, Minato-ku, Nagoya, Japan
- Number of employees: Approximately 200
MHI Officially Launches Mitsubishi Regional Jet Program