Hawker, Nextant prepare for battle of 400s

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Hawker Beechcraft has accelerated its plans to certificate an avionics upgrade package for the venerable Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP light business jets as competitor Nextant Aerospace prepares to begin selling similar enhancements later this year.

The company has added a second certification aircraft to the programme to accelerate the avionics portion of a broader makeover of the type, which includes changing out the original Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 suite in favour of the Pro Line 21.

"Customers can choose a baseline three-display system or a more advanced four-display system, along with other enhancements to meet their operational needs," says Hawker Beechcraft of the avionics refresh, which it says will be certificated as a standalone upgrade this summer.

hawker 400xpr, hawker beechcraft
 © Hawker Beechcraft

nextant aerospace 400nxt, nextant aerospace
 © Nextant Aerospace

The entire 400XPR upgrade package on its own, which includes new Williams International FJ44-4A-32 engines in place of the Pratt & Whitney Canada JT-15D-5 turbofans and new composite winglets in addition to the Pro Line 21 avionics, is to be certificated in 2012 and priced at $2.64 million. Production of the $7.5 million 400XP was suspended in November pending a return of demand for the twinjet.

Competitor Nextant says the first tranche of its remanufactured Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP models will be delivered this year under the Nextant 400XT title.

Priced at just under $4 million for the whole aircraft, the upgrade also features Pro Line 21 avionics, Williams FJ44-3AP engines and several aerodynamic improvements related to the powerplants. The first production conforming aircraft has been receiving its paint and on schedule to be on display at EBACE, the European business aviation association trade show in Geneva in May.