Honda and GE have formed a strategic alliance to produce a new jet engine for light business jets following negotiations that stretch back for more than a year.

The agreement was finally signed last week at the Japanese company's headquarters in Tokyo by Takeo Fukui, president and chief executive of Honda Motor, and Dave Calhoun, president and chief executive of GE Transportation, a business unit of GE. The agreement establishes the framework under which Honda and GE will further develop and certify Honda's new HF118 turbofan jet engine, which was launched in 1986.

Since 1999, Honda has been developing the lightweight HF118 engine which sits within the 1,000-3,500lb (4.5-15.5kN) thrust class.

So far, the engine has run more than 1,400h, including ground tests and more than 200h in flight tests on an existing test airframe.


In addition, two HF118 engines have powered Honda's new experimental compact business jet, the HondaJet, in flight tests that began in December 2003. The Honda/GE basic agreement includes joint certification of the HF118; joint marketing activities with independent airframe manufacturers; and continued discussions on the business structure under which the two companies will mass-produce the engine.

"We have great respect for the technology, design and performance built into Honda's HF118 engine," says Calhoun. "There are tremendous benefits to Honda and GE entering the business jet engine market together. Honda is the world's leading producer of engines for motorcycles, automobiles, and power products, all with superb technology. We are delighted to form this strategic alliance." Honda's Fukui says: "This is a great step forward for Honda to enter the aviation business."

Geoff Thomas

Source: Flight Daily News