Mitsubishi’s MRJ to be renamed Space Jet?
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation used upcoming Paris Air Show to tease about imminent MRJ “announcements”. Could they include name change or drastic design changes?
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation states it has “several announcements planned” at the upcoming Paris Air Show, which takes place on June 16-23, 2019. “Our company has evolved, the market has changed, and customers are demanding more,” the company said in a statement on May 29, 2019. “Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation is ready to not only redefine this global market, but to also capture it”.
While the company keeps hush of what these announcements might be, Nikkei Asian Review reports that these “announcements” relate to the “revamping” of the MRJ program to reflect the needs of the U.S. regional jet market. The changes reportedly range from a “drastic redesign” of MRJ70 (a smaller MRJ version) to changing the program name to “Space Jet”.
The Japanese company has already expressed a strong interest in the U.S. market. In addition to conducting flight tests of MRJ90 from its flight test center at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake (Washington State, U.S.), it has also just opened new headquarters at the very same State.
“The [new- ed.] office employs members of a global team, primarily focused on finalizing the development of the company’s regional jet program, including engineering, sales, marketing, and customer support. It will also play a key role in future product development,” the company explained in a statement on May 10, 2019, adding that it views the North American market as a driver of their own growth.
However, as for possible drastic changes awaiting MRJ, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation retains that the “MRJ90 is the foundation of our company and it remains our number one priority,” according to the statement. The company claims the MRJ type certification is “making steady progress” and the target date of the first delivery remains intact at mid-2020.
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation began MRJ90 certification testing in early March 2019 “in line with our plans to begin in early 2019,” Jeff Dronen from Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation told AeroTime at the time, adding that the test program is providing “good results.
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