Hawker Beechcraft (stand 7080) has advanced plans to offer a single-engined turboprop clean-sheet design aimed at the utility market, according to industry sources.
The aircraft, which is in the engine selection phase, is poised to take on turboprops such as the Pilatus PC-12, Cessna Caravan, Daher Socata TBM 850 and Piper Meridian.
Hawker Beechcraft declined to comment, although executive vice-president of sales, marketing and flight operations, Shawn Vick, says: "I would describe that end of the market as robust. We're going to pay close attention to any and all competitors in the marketplace."
Additionally, the company announced the Hawker 800XPR, a retrofit to its worldwide fleet of Hawker 800XPs, providing new Honeywell TFE731-50R engines and winglets.
The airframer says the new Honeywell engines will be rated to 4,660lb of thrust (20.7kN), below the 5,000lb each is capable of, creating a "robust interstage turbine temperature margin" providing improved performance over the existing Hawker 800XP aircraft.
The manufacturer will exclusively provide the refit at its service centres worldwide and expects supplemental type certificate approval by the end of the year.
Vick also says Hawker Beechcraft continues to evaluate the stalled Hawker 450XP, but has made "additional investment in the programme". Vick says one option being explored for the 450XP is to provide a new engine, avionics and winglets for existing Hawker 400-series aircraft.
Chairman and chief executive Bill Boisture expects 2010 deliveries to be fewer than in 2009, and expects this to continue throughout 2011. He says first quarter 2010 sales exceeded the same period in 2009.
Boisture also announced the maiden sortie of its Williams FJ44-3AP-powered Premier II on 13 March and has cleared all speeds of its flight envelope during the development phase, with operations up to 45,000ft (13,720m). A second certification phase is expected to conclude in late 2012.
The Hawker 4000 has received European certification, with 30 aircraft delivered to date, with a fleet time of roughly 8,000h.