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Indonesian R80 Civilian Plane Program

On August 10, 1995, Gatotkaca's N-250 aircraft flew for the first time gallantly, dismissing the pessimistic tone of foreign media predicting this aircraft would crash. Gatotkaca became the first aircraft in the subsonic speed class with fly by wire technology or its entire motion was computerized controlled, which could be airborne without problems.

This momentum is predicted to be a milestone in the history of Indonesia's aerospace glory. The N-250 civilian passenger aircraft, which can accommodate 50 to 70 passengers on board, is projected to win market share of propeller-class aircraft.

The cockpit of N250 first flown in 1995

N250 cockpit.jpg

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Indonesia Aerospace Industry real attempt to capture some civilian airplane market will be started by N 219 plane that has already got certification and inshaAllah will start its mass production phase this year.


N 219 assembly line

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Production during development phase

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Nice technological progress.
But why are Indonesian planes registered with PK-
What do those letters stand for?
 
According to some informal source, it is originated from Dutch Colonization period and uses Dutch word to form the letters. That is code name for plane and each countries have different code name. The meaning basically means Dutch Colony.

Thanks. I always wondered when i first learned since Pakistani planes are registered AP- and PK is the country code for Pakistan.
 
The program is highly supported by Indonesian public, we just can see it by reading the comment section.

 
According to the Government, they replace R80 program with Male UCAV Elang Hitam program because R 80 program cannot be completed until Jokowi last term that is ended in November 2024. Despite so, R80 program, AlhamduliLLAH, is still being worked by PT RAI engineering team as confirmed by Ilham Habibie latest statement weeks ago.

MALE Elang Hitam program in this matter due to government budget constrain has become a competitor program for R80 program.

IMO, basically MALE UCAV program is not that expensive so this program can still continue, but Indonesian government will likely feel hard to finance any program which development cost exceed 300 million USD as R80 program will need about 1 billion USD for its development cost. We also can see it through their difficulty in meeting their financial contribution in KF21/IFX program.

I would say it is due to lack of vision and less ambitious mentality because for this year alone government has plan to have budget around 200 billion USD with budget deficit less than 3 % of GDP.

elanghitam-678x319.png
 
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LAPAN to Develop R80 Habibie Aircraft Using Sukuk​

NEWS - Cantika Adinda Putri, CNBC Indonesia
20 January 2021 17:08

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Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia - The Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) is committed to participating in the financing of infrastructure projects using state sharia securities (SBSN) or sukuk this year.

One of the projects that LAPAN wants to do is to develop the R80 aircraft which was pioneered by the Third President of the Republic of Indonesia Bacharuddin Jusuf (B.J) Habibie.

Head of LAPAN Thomas Djamaluddin explained that the financing through SBSN will later be used for the development of aviation and space research.

One of the programs is for the construction of laboratories and for testing aircraft components with a project value of IDR 125 billion for 2020-2021.

The construction of the laboratory and testing of aircraft components, said Thomas to grow the independence of the domestic aircraft component industry (TKDN) by up to 60%.

Another program is to increase competitiveness or competitive prices for domestic aircraft. Including for the N219, N219 Amphibi, N245 to R80 aircraft pioneered by B.J Habibie.

"So that the test of the components of the domestic component industry needs to be carried out. After N219, we developed N219 Amphibious and then N245 and R80," said Thomas in the infrastructure project financing policy forum through SBSN 2021 which was held virtually, Wednesday (20/1/2021).

Just so you know, the R80 aircraft development project has been removed from the 2020-2024 national strategic project (PSN) under the administration of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

President Commissioner of PT Regio Aviasi Industri, Ilham Habibie said that he had been in correspondence with coordinating minister for the economy Airlangga Hartarto regarding the elimination of R80 from PSN. From the audience, he got an explanation that made R80 unable to remain psn status which is President Jokowi's program.

"It was given a statement to us that especially related to government policies, all projects that are still in PSN must be completed in 2024," said Ilham Habibie, in a virtual talk, Friday (7/8/2020).

That way, he admitted that it is impossible to meet the R80 completion target in 2024. The reason is, the development of aircraft requires a process that cannot be done in a short time.

"Of course we can't fulfill it and therefore, yes, we can't qualify for PSN anymore," he explained.

The R80 project was scrapped from PSN and replaced with the development of combatant/combat drones that were also being pioneered. The R80 aircraft was pioneered by the 3rd President BJ Habibie through the private flag of PT Regio Aviasi Industri (RAI) as the successor to the development of the N250 aircraft which was delayed during the 1998 crisis. BJ Habibie was chairman of PT RAI.

 
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LAPAN Begins to Develop Aircraft Components Testing Laboratory

2021-08-07 12:30:38



The National Aeronautics and Space Institute (Lapan) announced plans to develop an aircraft component testing laboratory.

LAPAN's step in developing this testing laboratory is a form of support for the Indonesian aviation industry.

"What we are doing is utilizing funding sources from SBSN (State Sharia Securities) to develop our labs, one of which is currently in the process, namely the DO-160 Lab which can later be used for testing aircraft components," said Lapan Head Thomas Djamaluddin in a virtual Seminar (Webinar) on Indonesian Space Progress in Jakarta, Friday (6/8/2021).

In the seminar which was held as a series of activities to commemorate National Space Day, Thomas said that his party continues to try to catch up in the mastery of aviation and space science and technology amidst limited budgets and other resources.

The Head of LAPAN said that one of the strategies being carried out by his party was to utilize SBSN funding sources to fund the development of laboratory facilities including a test laboratory.

Resources in the form of availability of facilities is something that is absolute in the development of aviation technology.

Based on the 2020 Aviation Technology Center Performance Accountability Report, the DO-160 Laboratory is a new laboratory built in 2020 through the SBSN budget. The lab functions to test components installed inside or outside the aircraft body.

Testing of these aircraft components must be carried out by the aircraft component industry in accordance with CASR/FAR regulations which are then elaborated in the form of a testing standard called Standard RTCA DO-160.

RTCA DO-160 is an aircraft component testing standard that is recognized and used by EUROCAE in Europe and the FAA in the United States and the Directorate of Airworthiness and Aircraft Operation (DKPPU) in Indonesia to issue certificates of airworthiness.

Testing of aircraft components is something that must be carried out by the aircraft component manufacturing industry.

It is planned that Lab D0-160 will be equipped and serve 18 test sections consisting of Temperature and Altitude test sections, Temperature Variation test sections, Humidity test sections, Vibration test sections, Explosive Proofness test sections, Waterproofness test sections, Sand and Dust test sections, sections Salt Spray test, Magnetic Effect test section, Power Input test section.

Then, there is the Voltage Spike test section, the Audio Frequency Conducted Susceptibility – Power Inputs test section, the Induced Signal Susceptibility test section, the Radio Frequency Susceptibility (Radiated and Conducted) test section, the Emission of Radio Frequency Energy test section, the Icing test section, the Electrostatic test section Discharge and Fire and Flammability test sections.

Until the end of 2020, the construction of the DO-160 Lab Building has not been completed, and will continue in 2021.

In accordance with the Main Performance Indicator (IKU) target of the Center for Aviation Technology in 2021, the lab will strive to obtain ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation so that it can immediately operate and serve stakeholders and contribute income to the state treasury through the technology testing service mechanism. Acceptance Non-Tax State (PNBP).

That is the official announcement by LAPAN that it will develop an aircraft component testing laboratory.


The component testing laboratory as of 2022

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Short distance jet plane is basically not having much advantage with propeller one since the short distance will make the difference is not that great. It is similar like choosing whether to build HSR over Medium speed train for short route. Propeller plane is also less expensive and more efficient in fuel consumption compared to jet plane.

Short route, economic wise, should use propeller plane like ATR 72. I think this is why Indonesian R80 program, in my opinion, has more business rational over Japanese civilian jet plane program.

--------------------------------------------------

Daily Memo: Mitsubishi’s SpaceJet Decision Ends Japanese Civil OEM Ambitions​

Jens Flottau February 07, 2023

2d8gg2t.jpeg

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries confirmed the end of the SpaceJet program on Feb. 7.

Credit: Newscom/Alamy Live News

In 1962, the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (NAMC) YS-11 took off for its first flight. The 60-seat Rolls-Royce Dart-powered turboprop was the first Japanese civil aircraft after World War II, and the hope was for it to be the first of many.

A little over 50 years later, in 2015, what was then called the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) took off for its first flight having been launched eight years earlier. But another eight years on and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has finally pulled the plug on the project, officially stating Feb. 7 that it will not restart development of the aircraft.

The loss to Japanese industry and government is more than just the $7 billion funneled into the ill-fated program. If there was ever a hope for the country’s industry returning to commercial aircraft manufacturing as the OEM, that has now gone. It is inconceivable that Japan would attempt to develop a large commercial aircraft again in the coming decades.
The SpaceJet—as the MRJ has been called since 2019—was not necessarily bound to fail. In 2007, large regional jets were in high demand. While the Bombardier CRJ was unpopular with passengers, Embraer had just proven that it is possible to successfully bring a new aircraft design to the market with its E-Jets.

Of course, there was a major difference between Mitsubishi and Embraer. The Brazilian manufacturer had slowly built expertise in the design and integration of aircraft—the Bandeirante, the Brasilia and later the ERJ145 were all necessary steps enabling the company to eventually build relatively large and complex aircraft like the E-Jets and today’s E2 series, not to forget the KC-390 in its defense business.

Mitsubishi, one of the three Japanese “Heavies” along with Kawasaki and Subaru, has been part of the global commercial aircraft manufacturing scene in its role as a major supplier to Boeing, but there has not been a continuous history of aircraft manufacturing since the start of YS-11 production, which ceased in 1972.

NAMC YS-11
A NAMC YS-11 operated by All Nippon Airways, which was to be the launch customer of the SpaceJet. Credit: Newscom/Alamy Stock Photo

Sure enough, Mitsubishi and its partners paid dearly for their lack of experience. Initially due for first delivery in 2013, the aircraft was delayed six times. Numerous design flaws were discovered during development and even after the first flight, forcing highly expensive extra work and a restart of certification leading to multi-years delays. Over time, the project lost credibility.

And the market had moved on. The idea that one would successfully introduce an all-new large regional jet became more and more unrealistic, particularly with environmental concerns gaining a lot more importance. Embraer is even struggling to find sufficient interest for a new turboprop of similar size, which would by definition be a lot more fuel efficient than the SpaceJet could ever be.

The fact that the SpaceJet will not be built looks like good news for Embraer. It remains the only internationally relevant current manufacturer of large regional jets, discounting Comac’s ARJ-21 and with the Airbus A220 moving more into mainline fleets.

In theory, a monopoly is a comfortable position to be in, but the big-picture trends must also be a huge concern for Embraer and the long-term prospects of the E2. The aircraft has recently seen some solid sales successes for sure, but overall it has not outgrown the niche of the E1 as Embraer had hoped. The shift to “right-sizing”—putting smaller aircraft on thin routes served by mainline jets—has to a large extent still not happened, even though, on paper, the concept makes a lot of sense. And there does not seem to be a growth story beyond the refreshment of the admittedly substantial fleets of E1s that will come up for replacement in the next 5-10 years.

Some of what has hurt the SpaceJet affects Embraer, too. Now that the industry seems to finally have woken up to the idea of tackling its environmental footprint, research is going into new (propulsion) concepts rather than conventional designs. Meanwhile, the pilot shortage in the U.S. regional market and scope clauses are not going away.

Given the slow pace of sales in the early years of the E2 program, Embraer has suggested that it may have launched the aircraft too soon as the in-service fleet of E1s had not come up for replacement yet. While that is certainly true, Embraer is also lucky to have made the step of introducing the second generation when it did. These days, such a move would no longer be possible.

Some parallels can also be drawn between the SpaceJet and the YS-11, even though the turboprop made it into revenue service with 182 aircraft built over the life of the program. Launch customers for both aircraft were Japanese. Then, international success depended largely on penetration of the U.S. domestic market.

Piedmont Airlines became the largest international operator of the YS-11 with 21 aircraft. SkyWest and Mesa had even ordered 150 SpaceJets at some point. When Piedmont’s enthusiasm for the aircraft remained a singular view, the prospects of the YS-11 program deteriorated. As for the SpaceJet, getting to that stage would have been considered a great success.
flottaujenssized.jpg

Jens Flottau
Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens is executive editor and leads Aviation Week Network’s global team of journalists covering commercial aviation.

 

Bappenas gives 5 recommendations on the proposed development of the R-80 aircraft​

Wednesday, 25 January 2023 10:03 WIB

Suharso.jpg



Regarding the Development of the R80 Aircraft, the Minister of Planning Gave 5 Recommendations to the Firstborn Son of B.J Habibie​

Minister of National Development Planning/Head of Bappenas Suharso Monoarfa welcomed the arrival of the board of directors of PT Regio Aviasi Industri (RAI) at the Bappenas Office, Jakarta, Tuesday (24/1/2023).

Minister of National Development Planning/Head of Bappenas Suharso Monoarfa welcomed the arrival of the board of directors of PT Regio Aviasi Industri (RAI) at the Bappenas Office, Jakarta, Tuesday (24/1/2023).(Suharso Monoarfa's Instagram documentation)

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - Minister of National Development Planning (PPN)/Head of Bappenas Suharso Monoarfa welcomed the arrival of Ilham Akbar Habibie with the ranks of PT Regio Aviasi Industri (RAI) at the Bappenas Office, Jakarta, on Tuesday (24/1/2023).

In the meeting discussed the proposed development R80 aircraft which was designed by the third former President of the Republic of Indonesia, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie. Suharso also submitted a number of recommendations on the proposed development of the R80 aircraft to RAI.

"First, PT RAI's input has been accommodated in the Roadmap for the Development of the Indonesian Aerospace Industry Ecosystem 2022-2045," he said as quoted from Instagram @suharsomonoarfa.

Also read: Bappenas: 100 Years of Indonesian Independence Is Increasingly Affirmed as a Maritime State

The second recommendation, the Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas will start conducting roadshows or visiting each ministry/institution to ensure the adoption of the Indonesian Aerospace Industry Ecosystem Development Roadmap 2022-2045.

"The roadshow is expected to attract stronger support, especially for research collaboration and strategic partnership development," said Suharso.

Third, requests for support for the establishment of a dedicated PMO for the R80 aircraft can be facilitated through the PMO recommended by the Indonesian Aerospace Industry Ecosystem Development Roadmap 2022-2045 to be established under the coordination of the Aerospace Industry Policy Committee.

Also read: Bappenas: Election Participants Must Campaign for National Long-Term Development Plan

Fourth, the R80 aircraft is included in the category of Turboprop type aircraft with a capacity of less than 100 passengers which is the focus of the Aerospace Product Pillar in the Indonesian Aerospace Industry Ecosystem Development Roadmap 2022-2045.

According to Suharso, the market potential of R80 aircraft products is prospective, but with fierce competition from global players (ATR, Bombardier, China COMAC).

"Fifth, the need for PT RAI to build strategic cooperation with production partners can be facilitated by the government in the form of untied endorsements (recognition without guarantees or funding)," he concluded.

 
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Educational history​

Ilham was born and raised in West Germany, following his father while studying and working there. For almost 31 years, Ilham Habibie lived there. Ilham started school at Elementary School Windmuehlenweg, then went to Hochrad High School, and eventually studied at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. [9] At the University of Munich, Ilham completed it from engineer to doctorate in aeronautical engineering with summa laude results. [10]

  • 1969–1973: Elementary School Windmuehlenweg, Hamburg, West Germany
  • 1973–1981: Hochrad High School, Hamburg, West Germany
  • 1981–1986: Technical University of Munich, West Germany (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Sub-Faculty of Aeronautical Engineering)
  • 1987: Diploma–Ingenieur (Technical University of Munich, West Germany) laude
  • 1994: Doctor–Ingenieur (Technical University of Munich, Germany) summa laude
  • 1999: International Executive Program, INSEAD, Fontainbleau, France, and Singapore
  • 2003: Master of Business Administration (School of Business, University of Chicago)
 
Short distance jet plane is basically not having much advantage with propeller one since the short distance will make the difference is not that great. It is similar like choosing whether to build HSR over Medium speed train for short route. Propeller plane is also less expensive and more efficient in fuel consumption compared to jet plane.

Short route, economic wise, should use propeller plane like ATR 72. I think this is why Indonesian R80 program, in my opinion, has more business rational over Japanese civilian jet plane program.

--------------------------------------------------

Daily Memo: Mitsubishi’s SpaceJet Decision Ends Japanese Civil OEM Ambitions​

Jens Flottau February 07, 2023

2d8gg2t.jpeg

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries confirmed the end of the SpaceJet program on Feb. 7.

Credit: Newscom/Alamy Live News

In 1962, the Nihon Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (NAMC) YS-11 took off for its first flight. The 60-seat Rolls-Royce Dart-powered turboprop was the first Japanese civil aircraft after World War II, and the hope was for it to be the first of many.

A little over 50 years later, in 2015, what was then called the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) took off for its first flight having been launched eight years earlier. But another eight years on and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has finally pulled the plug on the project, officially stating Feb. 7 that it will not restart development of the aircraft.

The loss to Japanese industry and government is more than just the $7 billion funneled into the ill-fated program. If there was ever a hope for the country’s industry returning to commercial aircraft manufacturing as the OEM, that has now gone. It is inconceivable that Japan would attempt to develop a large commercial aircraft again in the coming decades.
The SpaceJet—as the MRJ has been called since 2019—was not necessarily bound to fail. In 2007, large regional jets were in high demand. While the Bombardier CRJ was unpopular with passengers, Embraer had just proven that it is possible to successfully bring a new aircraft design to the market with its E-Jets.

Of course, there was a major difference between Mitsubishi and Embraer. The Brazilian manufacturer had slowly built expertise in the design and integration of aircraft—the Bandeirante, the Brasilia and later the ERJ145 were all necessary steps enabling the company to eventually build relatively large and complex aircraft like the E-Jets and today’s E2 series, not to forget the KC-390 in its defense business.

Mitsubishi, one of the three Japanese “Heavies” along with Kawasaki and Subaru, has been part of the global commercial aircraft manufacturing scene in its role as a major supplier to Boeing, but there has not been a continuous history of aircraft manufacturing since the start of YS-11 production, which ceased in 1972.

NAMC YS-11
A NAMC YS-11 operated by All Nippon Airways, which was to be the launch customer of the SpaceJet. Credit: Newscom/Alamy Stock Photo

Sure enough, Mitsubishi and its partners paid dearly for their lack of experience. Initially due for first delivery in 2013, the aircraft was delayed six times. Numerous design flaws were discovered during development and even after the first flight, forcing highly expensive extra work and a restart of certification leading to multi-years delays. Over time, the project lost credibility.

And the market had moved on. The idea that one would successfully introduce an all-new large regional jet became more and more unrealistic, particularly with environmental concerns gaining a lot more importance. Embraer is even struggling to find sufficient interest for a new turboprop of similar size, which would by definition be a lot more fuel efficient than the SpaceJet could ever be.

The fact that the SpaceJet will not be built looks like good news for Embraer. It remains the only internationally relevant current manufacturer of large regional jets, discounting Comac’s ARJ-21 and with the Airbus A220 moving more into mainline fleets.

In theory, a monopoly is a comfortable position to be in, but the big-picture trends must also be a huge concern for Embraer and the long-term prospects of the E2. The aircraft has recently seen some solid sales successes for sure, but overall it has not outgrown the niche of the E1 as Embraer had hoped. The shift to “right-sizing”—putting smaller aircraft on thin routes served by mainline jets—has to a large extent still not happened, even though, on paper, the concept makes a lot of sense. And there does not seem to be a growth story beyond the refreshment of the admittedly substantial fleets of E1s that will come up for replacement in the next 5-10 years.

Some of what has hurt the SpaceJet affects Embraer, too. Now that the industry seems to finally have woken up to the idea of tackling its environmental footprint, research is going into new (propulsion) concepts rather than conventional designs. Meanwhile, the pilot shortage in the U.S. regional market and scope clauses are not going away.

Given the slow pace of sales in the early years of the E2 program, Embraer has suggested that it may have launched the aircraft too soon as the in-service fleet of E1s had not come up for replacement yet. While that is certainly true, Embraer is also lucky to have made the step of introducing the second generation when it did. These days, such a move would no longer be possible.

Some parallels can also be drawn between the SpaceJet and the YS-11, even though the turboprop made it into revenue service with 182 aircraft built over the life of the program. Launch customers for both aircraft were Japanese. Then, international success depended largely on penetration of the U.S. domestic market.

Piedmont Airlines became the largest international operator of the YS-11 with 21 aircraft. SkyWest and Mesa had even ordered 150 SpaceJets at some point. When Piedmont’s enthusiasm for the aircraft remained a singular view, the prospects of the YS-11 program deteriorated. As for the SpaceJet, getting to that stage would have been considered a great success.
flottaujenssized.jpg

Jens Flottau
Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Jens is executive editor and leads Aviation Week Network’s global team of journalists covering commercial aviation.


The long, slow death of Mitsubishi’s SpaceJet​

By Scott Hamilton


Feb. 9, 2023, © Leeham News:

Mitsubishi Heavy Industry’s (MHI) announcement this week that it finally killed the SpaceJet program is hardly new. This was apparent as far back as January 2020 when all the Canadian and American leadership at Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp (MITAC) was unceremoniously booted out. Then, in May 2020, using the COVID pandemic as an excuse, all US operations were closed; so was the recently opened Canadian engineering center; the budget was reduced by 95%; and nearly all the engineers at the home office in Nagoya, Japan, were laid off or reassigned.

MHI refused to state the obvious. Instead, officials said repeatedly that the program was “paused.” This drip, drip, drip was all about saving face. Thus, the slide in MHI’s presentation about why the program was finally being killed was more candid than expected.

Ignores M100, focuses on MRJ90

MHI’s slide detailing why it terminated the SpaceJet program focused on the MRJ90 and ignored the redesigned, certifiable model, the M100 SpaceJet.

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The references in the slide are accurate—as far as they go. The MRJ90 was uncertifiable as designed, due to inexperience by MITAC’s staff. They didn’t have the knowledge to undertake a full airplane program with all the integration, regulatory and certification requirements required. This led to the need to alter certain crucial designs of the MRJ90. Even so, the aircraft remained outside the US labor contract Scope Clause requirements related to weight; the MRJ90 was too heavy.

The insurmountable problems with MRJ90 led to repeated delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns. The Western team recruited to save the program came from Bombardier, Embraer and Boeing. They recognized the MRJ90 was unsavable and wanted to discontinue development of the MRJ90 in favor of redesigning the smaller MRJ70. This airplane had not only the same fundamental design shortcomings as the larger MRJ90. It also was designed to carry too few passengers, which made it uncompetitive with the Embraer E175-E2 and the legacy E175-E1.

Redesigns of the MRJ70 added passengers, shaved weight and updated the interior. LNA’s analysis of the redesign concluded that the airplane had a double-digit advantage vs the E1 and single-digit vs the E2.


Acquiring the CRJ program

One major consideration as the Western executives worked to save the program identified was the need for a global support system for their regional jet. Creating one from scratch would be an immense task. Talent, locations, infrastructure and not the least time and money were obstacles. So MITAC proposed to MHI that Bombardier’s entire CRJ program and its global support system be acquired. The CRJ itself was already a dead duck. Outclassed by the E-Jet and ignored by Bombardier as its focus shifted to the mainline C Series jet, there was a backlog of perhaps two dozen CRJs. Bombardier already planned to end production. MHI agreed to buy the CRJ global support system for eventual transition to the SpaceJet. The remaining orders for the CRJ came with it. The purchase price was about US$550m, with a targeted closing date of June 1, 2020.

Orders and MOUs

The MRJ90 had nearly 200 conditional orders from the USA’s Skywest Airlines and Republic Airways Holdings, plus low double-digit firm orders from Japan’s ANA and a US lessor. The Skywest and Republic orders were conditioned on US pilot contracts being relaxed to accept the heavier airplane. Skywest also had a similar conditional order for 100 E-175-E2s. Because pilot unions were clear they weren’t going to approve adjusting the Scope Clause, none of these conditional orders was firmed up.

But the M100 SpaceJet, as the redesigned MRJ70 was branded, met Scope. MITAC eventually obtained nearly 500 Memorandums of Understanding for the M100 from Mesa Airlines (which was announced) and (unannounced) from major US airlines and European carriers. But these were never firmed up because MHI’s ambivalence was already in the open for all to see.


More money needed

As 2019 came to a close, it was clear to MITAC executives that another US$3.5bn would be needed to finish certification of the M100. A prototype was completed. The executives wanted to discontinue work on the MRJ90 and redirect money, production and engineering resources to the M100. MHI refused to do so, preferring to complete certification of the MRJ90. Insiders said this was a face-saving way to avoid admitting mistakes associated with the MRJ90.

Development for the MRJ90 and now the M100 SpaceJet had cost about US$8.5bn. MHI’s other divisions were losing money for the first time in decades and the new MHI CEO vowed to stem losses.

By January 2020, the Western executives were on their way out. Nobody at MHI publicly acknowledged the true meaning but to outsiders knowledgeable of Japanese culture understood this was the beginning of the end of the SpaceJet program.


Then COVID became a global pandemic in March 2020. By May, MHI closed US operations and a Canadian engineering center opened in September 2019. The budget for the SpaceJet was reduced by 95% and MITAC engineers at the home office in Nagoya, Japan, were let go or reassigned within MHI. The program was dead—but MHI promulgated the fiction that it was merely paused.

MHI wanted to cancel the deal with Bombardier to purchase the CRJ assets, but it was too late. Closing was only weeks away and MHI ultimately went ahead. Upon closing, MHI wrote off the entire purchase price. This cleared the decks for MHI RJ, as the new company was called, to be a profit center supporting the CRJs for years to come. With an eye toward the day when CRJs eventually are retired, a new hangar was built in West Virginia capable of servicing mainline jets.

Stated Reasons to kill SpaceJet

MHI ignored the M100 SpaceJet in its entirety in the slide outlining why the program was discontinued. Nevertheless, the slide is surprisingly candid otherwise.


Setting aside the references to the MRJ90, which was going to be discontinued upon certification of the M100 (some omitted by MHI), all the other data in the slide rings true. Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace, two key suppliers of the MRJ90, were especially reluctant to modify pricing for the M100.

Loss to the industry

The termination of the M100 program is a loss to the commercial aviation industry. It also kills MHI’s once-in-a-lifetime chance to become a global player in a duopoly with Embraer. Airlines like product competition. A larger M130 and a still larger derivate were in MITAC’s plans, eventually providing a family of airplanes. All this is gone.

 

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