Gulfstream studies new derivative of business jet for possible service entry in 2007
Gulfstream is studying a possible derivative of its G200 super mid-size business jet that could compete against aircraft such as the Bombardier Challenger 604 and Dassault Falcon 2000EX.
The study is thought to be a fast-track derivative approach that would be based on the existing cabin of the G200, but add a new wing, higher thrust engines and a new flightdeck with upgraded avionics. The company has issued a request for information to industry, in which it is believed to have outlined an ambitious target entry-into-service date of 2007.
Gulfstream, a General Dynamics subsidiary, says: "We are working on something in that area, there are some people looking at what they can do with the 200". It cautions that "no new programme has been sanctioned", and "until the study is completed it does not exist. We are always looking at any number of programmes, which is only natural given our new product line and where the market is going."
Although details are scarce, it is thought the new wing would be at least 25% larger in area than the existing design and incorporate sufficient internal tank space to eliminate the requirement for fuselage-mounted fuel tanks on the current G200. New powerplants under consideration are thought to include the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307/308, in place of the PW306A on the current aircraft, or the Honeywell HTF7000 - formerly known as the AS907. Rolls-Royce is also expected to offer the AE3007.
The cabin, which now seats 10, may be "marginally" stretched, say industry sources, but is not expected to be radically changed as it has proved to be one of the most popular in its category. The focus instead is on improved performance, particularly range, and a possible revamp of the avionics and flightdeck, possibly including advanced features such as sidestick controllers and new integrated displays based on the Honeywell Primus Epic/PlaneView concept.
The disclosure of the study coincides with the official roll-out of the 100th G200 at Israel Aircraft Industries in Tel Aviv.
GUY NORRIS / LOS ANGELES