Paul Lewis/BANDUNG

INDUSTRI PESAWAT Terbang Nusantara (IPTN) has advanced the planned entry-into-service date of the proposed N-2130 regional jet by two years, in response to domestic demand and forthcoming foreign competition.

With Japan trying to revive its YS-X programme and talks on the Chinese/South Korean AE-100 project continuing, the Indonesian move raises the prospect of three Asian regional-jet programmes running concurrently.

Delivery of the first production N-2130 has been brought forward to the first quarter of 2004. The 80- to 130-seat twinjet had originally been scheduled to have its commercial debut in mid-2006. According to N-2130 Technology Programme (NTP) manager Rudi Hendriadi, the decision to shorten the lead time by two years "...was driven by market requirements. Many Indonesian airlines operate Boeing 737-200s and they need to be replaced."

McDonnell Douglas' recent launch of its 105-seat MD-95 and China's continuing efforts to form an international consortium to build the similar-sized AE-100, have also had a bearing on the N-2130's timetable. "There was some influence there," admits Hendriadi.

The MD-95 is due to enter service in 1999 with launch caustomer ValuJet Airlines, and the AE-100 by 2002/3, although a squabble between China and South Korea threatens to further delay the aircraft. The Indonesian manufacturer, in response, proposes to launch the N-2130 formally in March 1997.

IPTN wants to shorten preliminary design work and begin fabrication and assembly by mid-1998, shortly after the start of the detail design stage. The design will be 90% complete by early 2001, at which point subassembly will begin. The first prototype will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2002 and will be flown by the middle of the year.

NTP deputy vice-president Widjojo Hardjoprakoso hopes to achieve a reduction in the programme's design cycle through the use of digital design processes such as Dassault's CATIA system, which was partially employed for the first time on the N-250 turboprop programme. "We know we can do better with the N-2130," says Hardjoprakoso.

The intervening year before the aircraft is launched will be spent conducting a market study and assessing foreign-carrier requirements in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. IPTN has already consulted Indonesia's five main airlines - Bouraq, Garuda, Mandala, Merpati and Sempati.

The result has been the emergence of two conflicting design requirements for a longer range of 3,700km (2,000nm) and a shorter take-off capability from a 1,520m (5,000ft) length runway. The baseline N-2130 now has a maximum design range of 3,425km and a field performance of 1,850m.

Conceptual design modifications under consideration include provision for a triple-slot flap system and/or the addition of a wing-box fuel tank. In the event that the two needs cannot be accommodated, IPTN does not rule out two different versions.

Elsewhere in the region, Japan Aircraft Development (JADC) and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry are trying to revive the flagging YS-X design by seeking new international partners. JADC had been hoping to work with Boeing, China and South Korea, on the 100-seater.

The Boeing tie-up proved to be a political non-starter, and Japan has been left without any prospective partners. Japan has now reportedly approached Bombardier and is considering scaling down the YS-X to a 70-seater, more in line with the Canadian company's projected RJX stretch of its Regional Jet.

Source: Flight International