Arie Egozi/TEL AVIV

RUSSIAN AIRCRAFT company Yakovlev is to be replaced as the manufacturer of the fuselage and empennage on the prototypes of the Galaxy business jet being built in association with Israel Aircraft Industries.

The Israeli Company is searching for an alternative-manufacturing source, with fast expanding Spanish Company Gamesa the most likely candidate. Gamesa already manufactures the fuselage of IAI's Astra business jet.

IAI claims that Yakovlev could not fulfil its obligation on schedule. According to the agreement, Yakovlev was to manufacture the fuselage and empennage of four Galaxy prototypes in its Saratov plant, and the work was about to begin. Delivery of the first units, were scheduled for later this year.

A Yakovlev source has confirmed the decision to switch production from Saratov. The plant is suffering from financial difficulties because of a lack of orders for the Yak-42 airliner. Most employees were laid-off in June, and it is not clear when the plant will resume work.

Doron Suslik, IAI's communications director, says that the company " looking elsewhere for the production of the prototypes. Efforts are being made to find a partner in Asia, Europe or the USA". He says that it is likely that the series production of the fuselage and empennage will also be made in the chosen factory.

Moti Boness, general manager of IAI's Matan civil-aircraft plant, says: "Together with Yakovlev, we agreed that the current situation in the Saratov plant may delay the programme, and therefore other alternatives should be explored."

Boness says, that there are several alternatives and one is to transfer production of the prototype sections to Gamesa.

In 1994, Boness estimated that co-operation with Yakovlev would reduce development costs by about 35%, and production costs by around 20%.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306-A powered twinjet is scheduled for certification and first delivery in the first half of 1997.

Source: Flight International