Brazilian manufacturer's most likely concept could be similar to Citation CJ2
Embraer is expected to make a final decision on the go-ahead of a light jet programme in March 2005 and is reviewing powerplant options from General Electric Honda Aero Engines, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Williams International.
Embraer has acknowledged studies of a "full range of aircraft" as it prepares to introduce a new stablemate to the Legacy and a yet-to-be-launched corporate version of the Embraer 170 regional jet, but has yet to announce a finalist. The company appears to be zeroing in on a concept straddling the ill-defined boundary between the light jet and emerging very light jet (VLJ) categories, and the prospective design is described by sources as being similar to Cessna's Citation CJ1.
Embraer declines to comment on the possibility of a March decision or a VLJ target, but says "we are looking at a number of opportunities, and those that make the most sense we will consider going forward with. Overall, we are looking at a range of opportunities in the business aircraft market."
The competing engines are the GE Honda HF118, P&WC PW600 and Williams FJ33 small turbofans. The initial version of the HF118, rated at around 1,600lb thrust (7kN) is in development by GE and Honda, which in October established a joint company to pursue the engine's launch and marketing. The HF118 was the first engine identified with the potential Embraer light jet project when it was exclusively revealed in Flight International earlier this year (18-24 May).
The PW600 is also expected to be a strong contender, having won places on the two most secure new light/very light jet projects in development, the Cessna Citation Mustang and Eclipse Aviation Eclipse 500. The PW615F, rated at 1,350lb thrust, has been flying since April and the first shipset is expected to be delivered to Cessna in February 2005. The first flightworthy PW610Fs for the Eclipse are being prepared for delivery to the company's Albuquerque, New Mexico site in preparation for the maiden flight of the pre-production aircraft, expected before the end of December.
The Williams FJ33 is also relatively well positioned, the 1,570lb-thrust rated -4A variant having recently completed certification before its potential application on a range of VLJ projects from the Adam A700 and Diamond D-Jet to the ATG Javelin.
GUY NORRIS / LOS ANGELES
Source: Flight International