Aviation Technology Group (ATG) will next week begin taxi and systems tests on the Javelin very light jet, ahead of first flight in the second half of the month.

The development comes as Englewood, Colorado-based ATG launches a new drive to secure more than $100 million of funding to take the programme to certification by the end of 2007. The company will also announce the location for its planned assembly plant by the end of the month.

ATG has 101 orders for the $2.5 million, Williams FJ33-powered Javelin, which it is promoting as a personal jet and military trainer. These include eight Mk20 military versions for EADS, which will operate them for the French navy.

ATG has already raised almost $100 million from 170 mostly Colorado-based private investors and from the sale of a 10% stake in the programme to Israel Aircraft Industries, which is helping develop the military trainer variant.

The company hopes to issue a prospectus to potential institutional investors by August and is optimistic that an agreement with Lockheed Martin to use the Javelin as part of a possible offset deal in Poland (Flight International, 8-14 March) will help its reputation. "The big guys want to work with us," says executive vice-chairman Horst Bergmann. "This gives us credibility in Wall Street."

ATG will also announce its production plant site. The company said early last year it had chosen Albuquerque in New Mexico for its new assembly site, but Bergmann says: "We have also received interesting offers from other states such as Utah, Texas and Colorado. That caused a re-evaluation of the entire plan and we expect to make a final site selection within the next four weeks."

Source: Flight International