Indonesian Aerospace is considering the development of a commercial variant of the CN235 tactical transport aircraft.
The company has explored the concept of the airliner variant, designated the N245, and believes it could build two prototypes by the 2017-2018 timeframe, says company director of production Arie Wibowo.
The manufacturer envisages the variant carrying 35-50 passengers on short, regional segments. "It would be a spoke-to-spoke aircraft," says Wibowo.
Wibowo spoke with Flightglobal at the biennial Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition. The Indonesian airframer believes it could develop the new variant and produce two prototypes for $200-250 million, which would come from the Indonesian government.
Indonesian Aerospace already has the world's only active production line for the CN235. Creating a commercial variant would involve re-designing the tail-empennage to remove the ramp. Creating a N245 would therefore require a series of alternate production stations parallel to the main line.
The engine would also change to a Pratt & Whitney PW127, from the General Electric CT7 that powers the CN235s now in production.
Indonesian Aerospace sees the N245 operating at 25,000 feet, higher than the typical operating altitude of the CN235.
The company feels the N245 would fill a useful niche between its developmental N219, which targets the segment now served by the Twin Otter and Cessna Caravan, and the ATR series.