New Mexico operations to start mid-year as state agrees funding to support factory

Aviation Technology Group (ATG) has selected Albuquerque, New Mexico as the assembly site for its planned Javelin two-seat light jet. The move comes as ATG begins assembly of the initial prototype at its headquarters in Englewood, Colorado.

The New Mexico operation is expected to "start this summer", says ATG president George Bye, who adds that co-locating with Albuquerque-based Eclipse Aviation was a significant factor in the final decision. "We share a number of subsystems and we will enjoy some of those synergies, particularly in terms of our common high-technology approach to new assembly methods and systems," he says. As with Eclipse, which is located at the city's main airport, ATG plans to relocate to the nearby Double Eagle II airport by 2006. "It could be a new Wichita," adds Bye.

State funding has been approved to support the move, he adds, and the New Mexico State Investment Council will build the assembly facility. ATG is a privately held company and Bye is reluctant to discuss details of ATG's financial position or its backers. He says the company will move into an interim 930m2 (10,000ft2) site at either Albuquerque airport or Double Eagle II before transitioning to the new purpose-built 9,300m2 manufacturing plant.

ATG is meanwhile assembling the first of two Javelin prototypes. The first aircraft is due to fly in September. The two initial airframes will be made from composite materials, unlike the predominantly aluminium frames of the later test and production Javelin models, and will be used for basic envelope expansion and general risk reduction. A further six conforming prototype airframes will then be assembled, four for full flight testing and certification, and two for static and fatigue tests. Flight tests of the Williams International FJ33-powered conforming prototypes are to begin in 2006 with certification targeted for the first quarter of 2007.

Final aerodynamic refinements are being implemented as a result of a last series of windtunnel tests completed in December. These include reshaping the profile of the canopy, decreasing the engine inlet lip incidence angle and adjusting the position of the vertical tails to refine control authority. Systems selection is virtually complete with only the suppliers of the anti-ice system and canopy to be decided.

Source: Flight International