The UK’s GKN Aerospace on Thursday said it has won a contract to supply the empennage for the Deutsche Aircraft D328eco, a planned re-engined and stretched version of the Dornier 328 turboprop.
Under the contract, GKN will work with Deutsche Aircraft on the development and industrialization of the empennage, the design of which the German company said features “advanced lightweight solutions” involving composites. GKN has extensive experience manufacturing composite structural components such as the HondaJet fuselage and empennage and G650 empennage and major airframe components for the NH90, AW169, and Chinook helicopters.
Project leaders are preparing to support D328eco production at a planned final assembly line at Leipzig Halle Airport, which will start in 2025, while the team continues to perform design work at Oberpfaffenhofen Airport near Munich. Plans call for the completion of the preliminary design review in September.
The program centers on powering the revamped 328 with Pratt & Whitney PW127S engines, which can run on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Other elements include a two-meter fuselage stretch to allow for a capacity of 43 passengers. Deutsche Aircraft also plans to update the flight deck with a Garmin G5000 avionics suite for a possible transition to single-pilot operations.
Deutsche Aircraft now serves as the 328 turboprop’s OEM while Sierra Nevada subsidiary 328 Support Services holds the type certificate.