Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) aims to fix the configuration of its planned MJ-70/90 Mitsubishi Jet (MJ) regional aircraft family early next year as it broadens its discussions with systems suppliers.

MHI general manager civil aircraft and aeroengine department Masakazu Niwa says the company aims to have "a fixed configuration" covering the MJ's engine, avionics and equipment by March. "Then, we would be able to go ahead and decide whether we want to have the aircraft," he adds.

MHI is seeking partners to launch the programme in 2008, which, if achieved, could enable certification in 2012.

The 70- to 90-seat family twinjet family would be powered by an engine in the 13,000-14,900lb-thrust (58-66kN) range, and although MHI has signed an agreement with Rolls-Royce, Niwa says talks are also being held with General Electric. "We are discussing several things, but what is really needed for us is high performance and fuel efficiency - that is what we're stressing to the companies. We expect to make a decision on this in the near future."

R-R, whose announcement of the study agreement with MHI apparently prompted GE to pursue the project, is proposing a variant of its new two-shaft RB282 family. The variant is understood to be the RB282-50 with a seven-stage high-pressure compressor, two-stage high-pressure turbine and 1.3m-plus sized diameter fan.

GE confirms it is in "active discussions" with MHI over the MJ, but adds that "we haven't signed any legal agreement". The engine is "in the size class of the CF34-10", says GE, which adds that the MHI proposal is a completely "re-cored" variant with three-dimensional aerodynamically designed parts and material improvements in the hot section.

Niwa says talks are also being held with Rockwell Collins about avionics, "mainly the flight instruments". Collins confirms it has been in contact with MHI.

Mitsubishi jet 5 Dec 06 
©Max Kingsley-Jones/Tim Brown/Flight International
Mitsubishi is talking to R-R and GE about engines for the 70 to 90-seat MJ  

Source: Flight International