Honda Motor Company announced at Farnborough that it has established a new subsidiary - Honda Aero - to focus on its aviation engine business in the United States. The unit will be headed by Junichi Araki and should begin operations by the end of the year.

Honda Aero will be responsible for Honda's aviation engine business, including contract negotiations, procurement, and preparations for production and sales of the HF118 turbofan jet engine that marks Honda's first step into the jet engine business.

The HF118 engine is designed for light business jets, a category with an estimated annual market of 150 to 200 units, and one in which further growth is expected in the future.

Honda and GE signed a basic agreement in February this year jointly to pursue commercialisation of Honda's HF118 jet engine. Issues such as marketing strategy, business structure and production are under discussion and the signing of a final agreement with GE is anticipated before the end of the year.

Honda's research efforts for small jet engines and jet aircraft began in 1986. Development of the Honda HF118 engine, which fits in the smallest category of the business jet engine class, began in 1999. Full-scale flight tests of the HF118 engine have been conducted on Honda's prototype HondaJet aircraft, since December 2003.

In addition, Honda has established the Wako Nishi R&D centre in Japan to consolidate and strengthen the turbofan jet engine development currently done at the Wako research centre, and the development of piston aircraft engines currently conducted at the Asaka R&D centre.

Wako Research Centre will continue its research and development efforts for the HondaJet, an experimental prototype aircraft currently undergoing test flights in Greensboro, North Carolina.



Source: Flight Daily News