Beechcraft expects to fully certificate the $2.9 million Hawker 400XPr by November and start deliveries of the re-engined and upgraded business jet by January.
Although delayed by the bankruptcy restructuring that shut down production of new Hawker-branded jets, Beechcraft continued to work on certification of the 400XPr upgrades, says Christi Tannahill, senior vice-president of the company’s Global Customer Support.
So far, Beechcraft has already certificated the Rockwell Collins ProLine 21 avionics and company-designed winglets for the 400XPr, Tannahill says. Certification of the more powerful Williams FJ44-4A-32 engines should follow in October and November, she says.
The upgrades will be completed on a new production line that Beechcraft is installing at the company’s factory service centre at Fulton County outside Atlanta, Georgia. The aircraft will then be ferried to Indianapolis for paint and interior completions.
“We’ll deliver about 15 to 20 a year of these, is the intent,” Tannahill says.
Though the Hawker 400XPr comes more than two years after the first delivery of Nextant’s similar update of the same model, Beechcraft believes it still has competitive advantages.
Most importantly, Beechcraft’s 400XPr can be supported at each of the company’s 100 authorised service centres around the world, Tannihill says.
Beechcraft made a decision last year to shut down business jet production and focus on turboprop- and piston-driven aircraft. At the same time, the company placed a whole new emphasis on supporting the active fleet.
The 400XPr upgrade is aimed at the active fleet of Hawker 400 and 400As, which numbers 384, according to the Flightglobal Ascend database. Another 178 T-1A Jayhawks are operated by the US Air Force as lead-in trainers for transport and tanker aircraft crews.
“We’ve always had the thought, if you modify your airplanes that are in the field, does it impact new airplane sales?” Tannahill says. “We’ve recently come to the conclusion of absolutely not.”
Indeed, such upgrade programmes, including the previously launched Hawker 800XPr, represent a $2 billion a year industry across all Hawker and Beechcraft models, she says.