Attempting to jump on the homeland-defense bandwagon, Aviation Technology Group at Denver Centennial Airport proposed earlier this year that its twin-engine, tandem two-seat “personal jet” could indeed perform military service as a subsonic (Mach 0.92) interceptor. For this duty, the Homeland Defense Interceptor (HDI) Javelin would have an avionics/weapons suite that could include small wingtip-mounted missiles; a minigun with tracer ammunition; air-to-air tracking radar; Flir; a high-power spotlight; satellite or ground datalink; and military radios. Although its main mission would be surveillance, intercept and warning, it could also, said ATG, be used to destroy “terrorist-controlled airborne threats.”
At a fully equipped price of about $4.5 million and direct operating cost of only $700 per hour, the HDI would compare favorably with the $26.9 million price tag and $3,600 DOC of an F-16, ATG claimed. Price of the civil Javelin, on the other hand, is slated for a more modest $1.88 million (for the first 26 aircraft) and the company is accepting $25,000 refundable deposits. Certification to FAR Part 23 is penciled in for late 2004 and first customer deliveries in early 2005.
Meanwhile, the second round of wind-tunnel testing of the Javelin airframe was completed in April at the University of Washington Aeronautical Laboratory’s Kirsten Wind Tunnel. Among the aerodynamic refinements confirmed were slightly larger vertical and horizontal tails, more streamlined canopy, larger leading-edge root extension, shorter engine-intake geometry, refined winglets and shorter rudder chord. Mach 0.92 top cruise speed and 51,000-ft certified altitude were shown to be achievable by those tests.
Finally, last month ATG announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Luscombe Aircraft Corp. of Altus, Okla., as the first step in creating a strategic partnership for the production of Javelins by Luscombe, which builds the high-wing, four-seat Luscombe 11E piston single (a Cessna 172 look-alike). According to ATG, the Javelin and 11E primary structures, both being conventional aluminum construction, share similar production processes.
Said George Bye, ATG president, “The new 120,000-square-foot Luscombe production facility, high-quality production engineering staff guided by John Daniel and the great support from the Altus community and State of Oklahoma led to our decision. Further, the strategic production partnership brings efficiencies to assembly costs that are attractive for both companies.” He said Javelin’s production forecasts range from 711 to 1,638 units over seven years. ATG was incorporated in June 2000 after three years of research and development work.