The HondaJet 2600 will soon be more than a concept after North Carolina-based Honda Aircraft committed to developing the 10-person light business aircraft with a goal of having it certificated by 2028.
Confirming its plans on 13 June, the airframer also disclosed that the 2600 will be equipped with Williams International turbofans, rather than powerplants from the GE Honda Aero Engines joint venture, which supplies the HF120s for the super-light HA-420.
“Honda Aircraft today announced that it will commercialise the HondaJet 2600 concept,” the company says. “It will target type certification in 2028 for the new light jet, which represents a new product line for Honda Aircraft.”
The firm revealed the 2600 light-jet concept in October 2021 at the NBAA business aviation convention in Las Vegas and recently hinted that it was close to an official launch. Honda Aircraft currently only produces its super-light HA-420 HondaJet.
But the company now has “committed to development” of the 2600.
“The commercialisation decision serves as a clear demonstration of Honda Aircraft’s formal commitment to the programme, solidifying our intention to bring the aircraft to market.
“The HondaJet 2600 concept has transitioned from being merely a paper or conceptual project to a tangible product in active development.”
At present, the company is “finalising engineering designs for the new light jet, with fabrication activities under way”. It declines to say if it is taking 2600 orders but says it will reveal more information during a “marketing launch” later this year.
Honda Aircraft has also released more detail about the design of the 2600: it will have range of 2,625nm (4,860km), maximum cruise speed of 450kt (833km/h) and a 47,000ft ceiling.
Power will come from the Williams FJ44-4C engine – a variant of an established turbofan that powers other light aircraft, notably the Cessna Citation CJ4 and Pilatus PC-24.
Spirit AeroSystems will produce the 2600’s fuselage, Spanish firm Aernnova will provide aerostructures and other components, and Garmin will supply its G3000 avionics.
The 2600 will have capacity for nine or 10 passengers, depending on whether it is flown by one or two pilots.
“The new aircraft will surpass the performance, comfort and efficiency of typical light jets by providing a medium-sized jet experience,” Honda Aircraft says.
“It is designed to be the world’s first light jet capable of nonstop transcontinental flight across the United States, with a quiet and spacious cabin.”
Committing to the 2600 reflects a significant step up the size range for Honda Aircraft, which helped create the ultra-light business jet market several decades ago with its HA-420.
The company overcame early HA-420 development delays to establish itself as strong player in a somewhat niche sector of the overall market around 230 of the ultra-light jets are in service.
Honda Aircraft chief executive Hideto Yamasaki says the 2600 “represents Honda’s next chapter of skyward mobility”.
The 2600 will see Honda Aircraft compete against other well-established light business jets, such as the Citation CJ4 and Citation Latitude and the Embraer Phenom 300E.