Andrzej Jeziorski/MOSCOW

German engine manufacturer BMW Rolls-Royce has appealed to the Bonn Government to give financial backing to the Tupolev Tu-334 102-seat regional jet.

"We believe that some of the financial assistance and credit which the German Government is giving Russia for commercial projects should be dedicated to the Tu-334," says BMW R-Rtechnical director Günter Kappler.

BMW R-R is supplying the 67kN (15,000lb)-thrust BR710-48 engines for the proposed Tu-334-120, which is intended for the export market. The basic -100 version is powered by Russian-built Progress D-436T turbofans.

The first -100 prototype was rolled out at the 1995 Moscow air show, but the programme has made little progress since then because of funding difficulties.

According to Tupolev chief designer Igor Kaligin, there are contracts signed with the Russian economics ministry, guaranteeing Government backing for the programme. He says that the money is coming in, but is behind schedule.

Kaligin is encouraged by the response of German Government state secretary Norbert Lammert, who was briefed during a visit to the show on 19 and 20 August.

He says that Aeroflot, Tumin Airlines and Vnukovo Airlines are among the carriers which are ready to buy. "We have agreements with 13 airlines for 160 aircraft, " he adds.

Five Tu-334 prototypes are planned, three of which will be for flight testing. The third is intended to be the first -120 aircraft.

The first flight of the -100 is to take place by year-end ,with certification by late 1999. Kappler hopes that the BMW R-R-powered prototype will be flown in 1998. The first pair of BR710s will be delivered to Tupolev in October, and will be used for ground tests. These should be replaced by production-standard engines before the -120's first flight.


Source: Flight International