ISRAEL AIRCRAFT Industries (IAI), is to build four prototype Astra Galaxy's in Israel, in a bid to maintain the momentum of the business jet project.
The programme is around nine months behind schedule, with the first flight of the Galaxy now planned for the fourth quarter of 1996, leading to certification and first deliveries a year later.
Manufacture of the fuselage and empennage for the Galaxy prototypes has been shifted from Yakovlev in Russia, and negotiations are under way with potential suppliers of production fuselages, says IAI president Moshe Keret. IAI "...will take decisions in the next few weeks on one or two companies" to replace Yakovlev, he says. The work may be split between fuselage and empennage builders, together representing a work-share close to 25%.
Fuselage manufacture was moved from Yakovlev because of concern "...that the initial plan to construct the Galaxy in Russia was beginning to fall behind our original schedule", Keret says. Yakovlev has completed all drawings for the fuselage and "...provided us with an excellent design that met all our targets", he says.
Keret emphasises that IAI remains fully committed to the Galaxy. "The programme is solid. We are going to do the Galaxy, whatever," he says.
IAI's marketing arm Astra Jet, holds almost 30 deposits on the Galaxy and negotiations are under way to convert these to firm orders, Keret says.