BOMBARDIER has agreed a series of deals covering the construction of most of the airframe for Continental super mid-size business jets. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and two of the Canadian company's subsidiaries are to build sections of the eight-passenger aircraft.

MHI becomes a risk-sharing partner to provide the wing section for the $14.25 million, AlliedSignal AS907-powered transcontinental twinjet (Flight International, 3-9 February). Bombardier's Northern Ireland, UK-based Shorts Aircraft will supply the centre fuselage and its Canadair subsidiary in Montreal will produce the cockpit section.

Bombardier has appointed Rockwell Collins to supply its Pro Line 21 integrated avionics system and it plans to finalise the fuselage production plan and have all major subsystem suppliers on board by April, to coincide with a formal production launch.

Bidders for the aft fuselage /empennage include Taiwan's Aerospace Industry Development (AIDC), Canada's Avcorp and France's Latecoere.

The final assembly site may not be determined before the end of this year, and company plants in Montreal, Toronto, Wichita and Belfast remain under consideration. Certification and first deliveries are planned for 2002.

Meanwhile, AlliedSignal expects to name the nacelle subcontractor for the AS907 by the end of the month.

The US engine maker is developing the engine with risk sharing partners, with AIDC responsible for the fan. Company officials say they are in final negotiations with an unnamed company for the three-stage low-pressure turbine.

Bombardier officials would not say how many letters of intent (with $250,000 refundable deposits) they have in hand, but an industry source says the company ended 1998 with more than 30 commitments. The super mid-size field also includes the Raytheon Hawker Horizon, Galaxy Aerospace Galaxy, Cessna Citation X and Dassault Falcon 50EX.

For the Continental, the AS907 is flat-rated at 6,500lb thrust (29kN). Plans call for variants up to 8,500-9,000lb thrust for corporate and regional aircraft. The AS907 is the baseline engine for the planned re-engined, upgraded Avro RJ-X regional jet.

Source: Flight International