SINGAPORE: Mitsubishi to unveil MRJ joined fuselage

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Mitsubishi Aircraft will unveil pictures of its first MRJ joined fuselage at the Singapore air show tomorrow, as the aircraft programme continues to take shape.

Last September, Mitsubishi showed for the first time parts of the regional jet that have been manufactured. Then, the different sections - forward fuselage, front portion of mid fuselage, aft portion of mid fuselage and aft fuselage - have yet to be mated. These aluminium sections are all manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Speaking to Flightglobal, Mitsubishi Aircraft president Teruaki Kawai says the different sections have since been joined. He adds that the aircraft's wings are being manufactured and should be delivered in the second quarter, while its first Pratt & Whitney PW1200G geared turbofan engines are also scheduled to be delivered in April.

“The first test aircraft should come together this spring or summer,” he says. “The most significant difference from the last half year is that now we have the hardware. We have started putting together a real flying airplane. At the Paris air show we had no hardware to show.”

Besides the first flight test aircraft, Mitsubishi says final assembly has also started on its first static test aircraft.

Kawai adds that the aircraft has been designed and manufactured to high precision with tight tolerances, which will ease final assembly. He is hence confident that the aircraft can achieve first flight as scheduled in the second quarter of 2015.

“The assembly guys are surprised that the parts are made with such high tolerance that they fit so well. They have been able to put together the skin and frame without the need for any adjustments,” says Kawai.

Last August, Mitsubishi announced a third delay to its programme schedule, pushing first flight of the MRJ90 from end 2013 to the second quarter of 2015, with deliveries to launch customer All Nippon Airways to follow in the second quarter of 2017.