Max Kingsley-Jones/LONDON

British Aerospace has selected AlliedSignal's AS900 turbofan to power its new Avro RJ family, as it moves forward with plans to introduce the updated RJX model in mid-2001 (Flight International 17-23 February).


The company has received approval to conditionally offer the new aircraft, subject to a full launch decision later this year, when the project definition is completed and business conditions met.

The cornerstone of the new family, which is based on the 70-, 85- and 100-seat RJ70/85/100 models, is the 7,000lb thrust 33.8kN) AS977-1A derivative of AlliedSignal's new AS900 turbofan which has been selected to power Bombardier's new Continental business jet. AlliedSignal, which is the incumbent supplier of the existing RJ family with its LF507, was selected by BAe over Pratt & Whitney's PW308.

Compared to the LF507, the all-new AS977 offers 5% more climb thrust and a higher flat rating, and lower weight, fuel consumption, noise and complexity. It also has much greater temperature margins which should boost on-wing time to around 12,000h or six years, compared to the LF507's 6,000-8,000h.

For the RJ, the engine improvements translate into a 17% increase in range, 15% lower fuel consumption and a 20% cut in overall maintenance costs. BAe is also studying the installation of new four- or five-screen flightdeck instrumentation. The new versions will be priced about $1.5 million more than the current family. The AS977-powered RJ100, for example, has a sticker price of $29.9 million.

The new model is scheduled to enter service inMay 2001, and BAe is already studying a potential retrofit programme for existing BAe 146s and Avro RJs on the back of the new family.

Jeff Marsh, senior vice president of BAe Regional Aircraft (BARA) division, says the new family will cost BAe and AlliedSignal about $100 million to develop as currently proposed, and is part of a 10-year business plan for the BARA division. "We expect to sell about 10 years' worth of production with about 18-20 deliveries per year," says Marsh. He adds that 146/RJ operators in Europe and Australiia have been targeted.

Source: Flight International