Farnborough Aircraft (FACL) is this week hoping to be the latest Western aerospace business to secure a Middle Eastern financial lifeline as it flies off on a publicity tour of the region with its F1 Kestrel prototype.
The UK-based company - which has gone through a near-crippling legal dispute with US start-up and former partner Epic Aircraft over rights to the design of the single-engine turboprop - needs $100 million to certificate the Kestrel. FACL director Richard Blain says building a market-ready version will take three years.
FACL has renewed a memorandum of understanding with Abu Dhabi maintenance and overhaul specialist Gamco, signed last year, to help manufacture the aircraft. But FAL's main objective is an equity deal with one of the region's investment houses, such as Mubadala, or participation in an offset arrangement, with a military supplier to the United Arab Emirates funding manufacturing facilities in the country.
FACL has been kept afloat by investor Geoffrey Galley since the collapse of a predecessor company headed by entrepreneur Richard Noble.
A longer article on FACL and an evaluation of the Kestrel prototype will be published next year in our 23-29 January issue.
Source: Flight International