Bombardier Partners with Grob on Composite Learjet

 - January 22, 2008, 11:05 AM

In October, after announcing that it planned to offer a next-generation Learjet for the midsize jet market, Bombardier said that it considered the new Learjet NXT jet a “staged launch” and planned to reveal more details this year. This morning the OEM revealed that the NXT is now called the Learjet 85, that the airframe will be all-composite and that Grob Aerospace will develop the jet’s primary and secondary structure and build the first three prototypes. Bombardier’s move will place it at the leading edge of business jet design; the Learjet 85 will be the first Part 25 business jet with all-composite structure (the Hawker 4000 has a composite fuselage but metal wings), as well as the company’s first foray into composite airplanes. Learjet designers are already working at Grob’s Tussenhausen-Mattsies facility in Germany, where the structures for the three prototypes will be built. Late last year, Bombardier told AIN that the new jet will likely be priced in the ballpark of Cessna’s $16.129 million Sovereign and that buyers had signed letters of intent for 65 copies of the new midsize Learjet. Specs include a 675-cu-ft, eight-passenger stand-up cabin, 3,000-nm range and Mach 0.82 high-speed cruise.