GE Honda is partnering with Sierra Industries to retrofit Cessna CitationJet, CJ1 and CJ1+ models with its newly developed HF120 turbofan engine.
The new project, called Sapphire Jet, is designed to boost the performance and productivity of the jets, all of which are out of production. Sierra primarily provides MRO services to business jet operators.
“We at GE Honda are pleased to add Sierra Sapphire as an application of the 120 engine,” says Masahiko Izumi, executive vice-president of GE Honda Aero Engines. “Our goal is to make both airplanes - the HondaJet and the Sapphire - a great success in their respective market segments.”
The HF120 is scheduled to enter service by the end of first quarter 2015, he says. By that time, production will have shifted from the company’s Lynn, Massachusetts, facility to a new factory in Burlington, North Carolina. Three engines have already been built at that facility and another three are in various stages of production.
“We’ve been working on this engine for a long time, obviously,” says Steven Shaknaitis, GE Honda Aero Engines chief executive. “We are really close. We have the facilities, the people, the organisation and the tools to be ready for when this engine goes into service.”
The HF120 powerplant received FAA certification in December 2013 but still lacks approval from Europe's regulator EASA, however Izumi says this should come by March 2015.