Mitsubishi "Next Generation RJ"

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Hi folks, in the latest Issue of the german aerospace magazine "Flug-Revue" on page 18 in the article "Regional aircraft - Turboprops are making a comeback", there was a pic of a modell of the Mitsubishi "Next Generation Regional Jet". The author writes that Mitsubishi is planning a Regional Jet family with 3 modells for 50, 70 and 90 passagiers. They are still looking for a 60kN engine. First flight would be 2008, if they find partners.
Mitsubishi’s First Passenger Jet Next Month TOKYO, April 12--Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. plans to develop the country’s first domestic passenger jet by March next year, according to a newspaper report published Tuesday, AFP reported. The nation’s largest heavy machinery maker plans to develop a regional jet that can seat 70-90 passengers and aims to conduct its maiden flight in 2008-09, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. The plan is part of Japan’s national aviation project in which the government and the private sector are splitting the 50 billion yen ($463 million) development bill. This five-year project, launched in fiscal 2003, has been conducting research with other firms, such as Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. Mitsubishi had initially envisioned a small craft that seats 30 to 50 people, but has decided to increase the size, judging that there would be little demand for such a small plane from major domestic airlines. According to Japan Aircraft Development Corp., a Japanese aviation association, there will be worldwide demand for more than 3,000 jets that seat 60 to 99 passengers in about two decades, and the number of such planes in operation is expected to jump fivefold from the 2003 level. Mitsubishi Heavy sees as its main customer the low-cost North American airlines, which have developed a business model based on frequent services using small aircraft on inter-city routes
Next, an all-Japanese plane While contributing to Boeing's next product, the 787, Japan's aerospace industry is also contemplating its own. The nation's leading business newspaper, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, reported in April that Mitsubishi plans to design and build 70- to 90-seat regional jets by early 2009. A Mitsubishi spokesman confirmed the company is developing an experimental 50-seat jet and is conducting market research and financial analysis for regional jets with up to 90 seats. It hasn't decided whether to start marketing such jets, though. Japan's government has been working with manufacturers led by Mitsubishi since 2003 on a $500 million study of a Japanese regional jet to carry 30 to 50 passengers. Mitsubishi's plans grew out of that project, though it bumped up the plane's seating capacity after concluding demand was limited for a smaller plane. The company "plans to apply technology for creating light, strong composites that it acquired through joint development with Boeing on the U.S. company's 777 and 787 aircraft," the Keizai Shimbun article said. The Mitsubishi aircraft would compete with planes now made by Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier, though not with Boeing, whose smallest current plane is the 110-seat 737-600. But Japan's goals do not end with small jets.
Source: The Seattle Times - "Heavies" help carry 787 Other sources are 3 years old! Have you got more information or pictures? Would such an aircraft be sucessfull, afterall Embraer with the E170 family, Bombardier CSeries and soon suchoi's RRJ's and China's RJ's will on the market? Thanks in advance!
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