One of the best-kept secrets in business aviation for years was revealed last night when Bombardier announced it has been working undercover with Rolls-Royce and other suppliers on re-engined, re-winged and longer-range versions of the Global 5000 and 6000.
It even has one of them here, having secretly flown what is now the Global 6500 across the Atlantic at the weekend, powered by its all-new R-R Pearl 15 engines.
Bombardier Business Aircraft head David Coleal unveiled the aircraft at a ceremony in the TAG Aviation hangar at Geneva airport on Sunday night.
The Global 5500 and G6500, which retain the same fuselage as their predecessors, but with new engines, avionics and cabin, as well as redesigned Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-built wings, will go into service at the end of next year.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the launch was how Rolls-Royce had managed to keep the certification campaign for the Pearl – which is based on its Advance2 propulsion concept – out of the public gaze.
Although the UK engine maker is the incumbent supplier on the Global 5000 and 6000 – which will continue to be offered by Bombardier – it revealed at its own press conference this morning that it has been working for more than six years on bringing the powerplant to market.
Rumours of a re-engined version of one or more Globals emerged last week because of the extreme secrecy surrounding scheduled announcements by both Bombardier and Rolls-Royce, but no aviation watchers noticed the airframer preparing to fly the re-engined Global 6500 from Wichita under an experimental authorisation.
Instead, all eyes were on the not-yet-in-service Global 7000 that also crossed the Atlantic for its EBACE debut. In a development that has been overshadowed by the relaunch of the smaller Globals, it was today officially renamed the Global 7500 to reflect its new 7,700nm (14,300km) range.
Source: Flight Daily News