Engine delivery slip will not affect MRJ: Mitsubishi

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The delivery of the first Pratt & Whitney PW1200G geared turbofan engines for the MRJ regional jet has been delayed, but Mitsubishi Aircraft maintains that this will not affect the programme’s 2Q 2015 first flight schedule.

“It (the delay) is due to the change of delivery schedule for equipment agreed between our company and the partners. The flexible production process may change the delivery schedule for equipment, but this change won’t affect the schedule for the first flight and first aircraft delivery,” a Mitsubishi spokesman tells Flightglobal.

He adds that the first engines are now “in the final phase of assembly” and will be delivered “in the coming weeks”. The engines were originally scheduled to be delivered in late April.

The plan was for the wings of the first flight test aircraft, MSN10001, to be joined to the fuselage before the delivery of the engines. Mitsubishi says however that the joining of the wings to fuselage is still underway.

When contacted, P&W would only say it is working to integrate the PW1200G engine with the MRJ, and “on track" to deliver the first engine “in support of Mitsubishi’s schedule”.

Neither Mitsubishi nor P&W would say when the PW1200G powerplant is scheduled to be certified.

Asked whether a non-certified engine would be able to participate in MRJ’s first flight, Mitsubishi says: “We won’t disclose the detailed requirement for the MRJ’s first flight. Of course we will make sure that the MRJ has enough safety at each phase.”

Transport Canada certified the PW1500G seven months before the Bombardier CSeries took its first flight last September. The approval means the engine is considered airworthy as a standalone system, which often marks one of the last steps before the aircraft it powers is ready to fly.

Early last year, P&W told Flightglobal that certification of the PW1200G is expected in the latter half of 2014. The engine maker had decided earlier to delay certification of the MRJ engine, allowing it to concentrate on readying the PW1500G for flight testing on the CSeries.

P&W has completed 18,000 cycles and more than 8,800 hours of testing across the PurePower engine family, including more than 1,200 hours of flight testing, says a spokeswoman.

P&W has been flight testing three versions of the PW1000G geared turbofan engine. These are the PW1100G for the Airbus A320neo, PW1200G for the MRJ and the PW1500G for the CSeries.

Mitsubishi has rolled out its first ground test aircraft in preparation for static strength tests, and its first flight test aircraft is also in final assembly. The Japanese made regional jet is scheduled to take its first flight in Q2 2015, after three delays to the programme’s schedule.