Mitsubishi Aircraft has signed a support contract with Boeing under which the Chicago-based company will serve as a consultant on the 70- to 90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the Japanese company said last month.
Under the terms of the contract, Boeing will help with marketing, development and aftermarket activities for the new regional jet, which the companies expect will reach the market in 2013.
The two companies maintain longstanding ties in the field of commercial aircraft production. Currently, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries makes the composite wing boxes for the Boeing 787, including the outer skins, stringers, girders and ribs. It also makes parts for the 747, 767 and 777.
The MRJ’s wings and empennage would consist largely of composites, a technology Mitsubishi has learned with its work on the 787. Other new technology destined for the MRJ includes the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1000G engine, formerly known as the Geared Turbofan. Pratt & Whitney plans to start detailed design on the version of the PW1000G destined for the MRJ by year-end, in time for the first MRJ engine to enter testing roughly a year later.
With the help of the PW1000G, lightweight composite parts and state-of-the-art aerodynamics, Mitsubishi claims that the MRJ will offer a 20-percent operating cost advantage over any competing aircraft.