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Harbin agrees North American Y-12 sales deal

Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing (HAMC) of China has concluded a joint venture agreement to supply Y-12(IV) turboprop airframes to the Canadian Aerospace Group for modification, final completion, certification and sale to the North American market.

The deal concluded in Beijing covers the supply of to 50 Y-12s over the next three years and a provision for an additional 150 airframes. Canadian Aerospace already holds letters of intent for 30 aircraft, plus a similar number of options. It is working to firm up the first two orders for delivery later in the year to an unidentified US operator, says the company's marketing director Tom Bunker.

The first airframe will arrive in June and initial efforts will be focused on re-certificating the newly named Y-12 Twin Panda with uprated Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6-34 turboprops offering 20% more power. The original PT6-27-powered Y-12 (IV) was the first Chinese-designed and produced aircraft to receive US Federal Aviation Administration Part 23 airworthiness certification in March 1995 (Flight International, 12-18 April 1995).

HAMC will ship bare airframes to Canadian Aerospace's Panda Aircraft subsidiary, which will then install the aircraft's twin engines, non-retractable tricycle undercarriage, cockpit instruments and cabin fittings at its North Bay facility in Ontario. The company, which it is marketing the aircraft as a replacement for the de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter, claims it will have 65% Canadian content.

According to Bunker, it is planning to offer several versions of the basic 19-seat passenger turboprop, including a float-equipped seaplane, a paramilitary coastal surveillance aircraft and parachute transport. The aircraft will be sold for "around $3 million" an airframe and is being targeting at Government and private operators.

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