Raytheon Aircraft has handed over product support for its MU-2 twin-engined turboprop to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (MHIA), so that it can concentrate on new product lines.

The MU-2 production line was halted in 1986, after more than 30 years, when US manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft International was dissolved. Raytheon then acquired the product support programme, along with Mitsubishi's Diamond business jet project.

"This seemed a natural follow-on to the Diamond contract," says MHIA. "Some owners indicated that Mitsubishi should get involved again. After all, it is their product, and we have always worked closely with Raytheon," it adds.

MHIA will take on the bulk of the work from its Dallas, Texas, base. Japanese parent company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will handle product development, including supplying aircraft manuals and written documents. MHIA plans to set up an international network of maintenance and service centres to cater for the 470 Garrett TPE331-powered aircraft still in operation. "Around 370 aircraft are based in the USA, with the remainder being spread throughout Europe, Canada and South America," says MHIA.

Raytheon will continue to support the MU-2 programme until the transfer is completed "late in the third quarter of 1998".

Source: Flight International