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New airframer DRA to revive Dornier 328 production

Germany has a new aircraft OEM – DRA – which intends to revive production of the Dornier 328 twin-turboprop at a new facility in Leipzig.

DRA has been set up by 328 Support Services, the aircraft's type certificate holder, and is being supported by the German federal government and the authorities in the state of Saxony.

The three parties signed a memorandum of understanding on 21 August to establish the new final assembly line in the east German city. Up to 250 jobs will be created in Leipzig, with a further 100 at 328 Support Service's site in Oberpfaffenhofen, Bavaria.

However, few details on the aircraft have been released. DRA describes the proposed development as a "derivative of the Dornier 328", which it calls the D328NEU.

The original Dornier 328 could carry up to 33 passengers, and it is thought the revived design will accommodate a similar number.

Images on DRA's website indicate that it will be a turboprop-powered design, but the company has released no details of proposed powerplant or systems suppliers.

Under a now-abandoned plan to establish production in Turkey under the TRJet brand, Pratt & Whitney Canada had agreed to provide its PW127 engines for the platform.

Other suppliers included Rockwell Collins – now Collins Aerospace – which was to provide its Pro Line Fusion avionics suite, while Liebherr was to supply the air management and flight control systems, and Heggemann the landing gear.

DRA says it will "exploit future technologies and capabilities to produce a more efficient, economic and environmentally friendly aircraft".

It also promises to "lead the way in clean and renewable energy with a smaller carbon footprint, getting more power from less to benefit operators and passengers alike", without offering any detail.

More information on the aircraft's specification will be released in early 2020, the company says.

US firm Sierra Nevada has owned 328 Support Services since 2015.

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