Aviation Technology Group (ATG) of Colorado has revealed plans to develop a two-seat, twin-engined executive sports jet known as the Javelin.

With an initial price of $1.9million, the proposed design is described by company president George Bye as a "downsized" cross between the Northrop T-38 and the Boeing F/A-18. Incorporating twin canted tail fins, a 7m (23ft) span wing swept at 35°, and a pressurised tandem cockpit, the Javelin is designed to cruise at 528kt (977km/h) or Mach 0.92. "There is nothing else looks like it, and there has never been a chance to build it before now with certified engines and avionics," says Bye.

The Javelin has been made possible because of the new generation of low-thrust turbofans and affordable state-of-the-art avionics in development for the growing number of entry-level personal and corporate jet programmes like the Eclipse 500 and the Safire S-26.

Unlike the other new projects, the Javelin is aimed at owners seeking a "sportscar of an aircraft," says Bye, who believes it will "complement" aircraft such as the Cessna Citation. The aircraft is also being seen as a possible military trainer, as well as a promotional aerobatic aircraft for large corporations.

ATG has had initial talks with Agelis which is developing the TF1200 engine for the Safire S-26, and Williams-Rolls over the FJ33, "or its equivalent," says Bye. No contacts have yet been made with Pratt & Whitney Canada over the PW600 family, or with Honda which is also developing a small turbofan family.

ATG requires two engines in the 1,200-1,500lb thrust (5.3-6.7kN) range for the aircraft which will have a maximum take-off weight of 2t (4,400lb). The firm is negotiating with manufacturers including BFGoodrich and Rockwell Collins, though "Collins has the top tick at the moment," Bye adds.

ATG is taking $25,000 refundable deposits for the first aircraft amid "tremendous interest", Bye says, with plans for the first production aircraft to be ready in 2003.

Windtunnel tests of a one-seventh scale model are to begin within weeks at the University of Washington Aeronautical Laboratory, while bids have also been issued for a full-scale engineering mock-up to be built by mid-year.

ATG plans to begin building the first flying prototype "this autumn", with the maiden flight of the Javelin due in the first quarter of next year. Bye says the Javelin is a "low risk" design with conventional aluminium construction, dual hydraulic flight controls with manual back-up, and simple systems.

Although capable of Mach 0.92, altitudes up to 51,000ft (15,550m) and a rate of climb of 70m/s (13,800ft/min) the Javelin is expected to have a flaps-down, gear-down stall speed of 81kt and an approach speed of between 105kt and 110kt, 10kt to 20kt slower than most comparable corporate jets.

Source: Flight International