RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT has issued performance guarantees to buyers of its new light business-jet, the Premier I, after the latest series of windtunnel tests confirmed initial predictions.

Maximum cruise speed at 33,000ft (10,000m) is expected to be around 460kt (850km/h), while range is pegged at 2,775km (1,500nm). Payload with full fuel and one pilot is expected to be 360kg and take-off field length will be around 900m. Maximum operating altitude is set at 41,000ft, according to the company.

Raytheon president Roy Norris says: "Most of the design work is almost complete. The fuselage and empennage teams have begun working with the tooling engineers, and they will shortly be joined by the wing team." Construction is due to begin early in 1997, and first delivery is due in the third quarter of 1998.

The company says that sales are in "the high double digits," after the initial offering at 1995's National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) show in Las Vegas when the Premier I was unveiled. "We took more orders in two days with cash deposits than on any new aircraft launched at NBAA," says Norris. Deposits were placed at the show on 51 aircraft. "Frankly, we're seeing if we can increase production quantities already," he adds.

Norris has squashed rumours circulating at Asian Aerospace '96 of possible merger talks between Raytheon and Hughes Aircraft. "Raytheon has had such a good few years that I'm not surprised at rumours of this kind. However, I am not aware of any discussions going on."

The aircraft company is buoyant after the most prosperous year in its history. In 1995 it delivered 409 aircraft and had $2 billion in sales, some $1.1 billion of which were commercial aircraft.

Source: Flight International