JAPAN AIRCRAFT Development (JADC) expects to launch full-scale development of its proposed 90- to 110-seat YS-X twinjet by the end of the 1996 fiscal year.
According to JADC senior managing director Shinya Kobayakawa, work will need to begin by late 1996 or early 1997 if the aircraft is to meet its certification target date of 2000. JADC is already conducting a joint study with Boeing, as part of the US company's New Small Aeroplane project.
JADC plans to sign a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Boeing by the end of July, says Kobayakawa. The agreement will cover further talks on cost and design sharing, but he refuses to reveal any more details.
Most industry sources remain sceptical that the new MoU will lead to any new US-Japanese project being launched. JADC, however, needs the agreement to secure additional YS-X study funds in 1996 from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
Says one Tokyo-based observer: "Boeing is continuing to play the old game of talking, while Japanese industry has failed to fall into line. There is still no money, or other international partners."
Boeing is pressing Japan to accept China as a full partner in any new 100-seat-size aircraft programme (Flight International, 7-13 June P118). The US manufacturer is also understood to want to limit its involvement to providing key technology and marketing support, rather than money.
Kobayakawa claims that the "door is still open" to co-operation with China, but adds that Chinese industry appears to want to develop its own, slightly larger, aircraft in partnership with South Korea. "It seems our projects are little different," he says.
Source: Flight International