By sheer volume, Cessna is the light jet leader with its Citation Jet line. Its new-build CJ3, CJ4 and Encore+ supplant the already fielded CJ1 and CJ2. The Learjet 40XR brought speed and style to the market, while Embraer was last to market with its Phenom 300, an aircraft that had longer legs than the 40XR, albeit at a slower pace.
Beechcraft had bought its way into the market early on when it purchased the Mitsubishi MU-300 Diamond - first flown in 1978 - and achieved US Federal Aviation Administration certification for its Beechjet 400 in 1986. The Mitsubishi-sourced aircraft, now named the Hawker 400/400XP, enjoyed a long production run, highlighted by large sales to the US Air Force (T-1A Jayhawk) and fractional operator Flight Options.
In October 2008, Hawker Beechcraft sought to increase the 400's competitiveness when it launched the 450XP. The promising project was never brought to fruition, however. Its parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2012, and decided to halt all jet production and sell the business as part of its restructuring plan.
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