Japan seeks to win Thai air defense radar contract

By Tim Kelly and Nobuhiro Kubo | TOKYO

Japan is seeking to win a contract to supply Thailand with an air defense radar system built by Mitsubishi Electric Corp, as it looks to counter growing Chinese influence in the Southeast Asian nation, according to four Japanese government officials and one industry source.

The effort is part of a wider push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration to bolster its position in the region along with its U.S. ally. The Chief of Staff of Japan’s Air Self Defense Force, Yoshiyuki Sugiyama, traveled to Bangkok last month to discuss areas of possible cooperation.

Japan expects the Thai military government to begin accepting competitive bids as early as next year as it upgrades and adds to its existing U.S. and European radar systems, the sources said. It is unclear who else may be bidding.

The value of such a contract is unclear as the specifications for the system have not yet been released. Radar systems built by Mitsubishi and other companies for Japan can stretch to hundreds of millions of dollars depending on the complexity and coverage. The sources said Japan would look to offer a lower price system because of Thailand’s limited defense budget.

Japan’s push for stronger ties with Thailand, will benefit the U.S. given the growing tensions over China’s claims in the South China Sea, according to the sources. Japan, which until 2014 had a ban on arms exports, has not previously sold military equipment to Thailand.

Since the 2014 coup brought the current Thai government to power, the U.S. has had strained relations with its old ally, which served as a staging ground for American forces during the Vietnam War, offering access to strategic airfields and ports.

In July, Thailand agreed to buy three Chinese-built submarines worth around $1 billion in a deal that illustrated Beijing’s willingness to fill the vacuum left by Washington. And last month, Thai and Chinese military planes performed acrobatic demonstrations together at the Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, around 260 km (161 miles) northeast of Bangkok, as a prelude to the first joint military drill between the nations’ air forces.

A company spokeswoman said Mitsubishi Electric does not discuss individual deals.

“While we are aware that Thailand is moving ahead with the deployment of air defense radar, we can’t comment on the activities of individual corporations, » a spokesman for Japan’s defense ministry said.

A Thailand Defense Ministry spokesman, Kongcheep Tantravanich, said that “many countries want to sell it to us but we have to see if the system fits.” Spokesmen for the Royal Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force said they had no knowledge of a plan for a new system.

Washington has a statutory obligation to withhold aid to militaries involved in coups against democratically elected governments. That includes restricting its arms makers from selling military kit to the country. Japan does not face such restrictions in engaging with the Thai government.

Tokyo is worried that China’s wooing of Thailand could further split members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and blunt criticism of China’s island building in the South China Sea. Beijing has claimed most of the resource-rich waterway as its own, sparking protests from other claimants, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.

The radar Japan proposes for the deal is a variant on Mitsubishi Electric’s fixed-position FSP-3 radar, an older generation system that has been used by Japan’s Self Defense Forces to detect air threats, the sources said.

Source : Reuters



First Pratt & Whitney PurePower® PW1217G Engine Testing Begins

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – May 17, 2011 – Ground testing of Pratt & Whitney’s first PW1200G family engine – the PW1217G engine for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) – is well under way. The engine, the first of an eight-engine validation and certification program, has completed nearly 16 hours of testing to date. Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

Over 2,000 pieces of instrumentation are used to support design validation of key low rotor components. Testing of this first PW1217G engine is expected to last through mid-year. In addition to this engine, a PW1217G test core will soon begin stress testing in the Pratt & Whitney West Palm Beach facility to further the design validation of high rotor components. Three additional PW1217G engines are in various stages of build and will begin testing shortly.

“We are very pleased with the initial results from the PW1217G engine test. It is meeting our pre-test expectations,” said Bob Saia, vice president, Next Generation Product Family. “We have incorporated lessons learned from extensive development and testing of the Geared Turbofan™ engine architecture demonstrating unprecedented technology readiness before the engine ran for the first time.”

The PW1217G engine test program will run a total of eight test engines over the next two years with engine certification and aircraft first flight scheduled for 2012. Entry into service is scheduled for 2014. All Nippon Airways and Trans State Holdings have placed firm and option orders for a total of 125 Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation MRJ aircraft.

The PurePower family of engines is designed to power the next generation of passenger aircraft. The combination of its gear system and advanced core allows PurePower engines to deliver double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency and emissions with a 50-percent reduction in noise over today’s engines.

The PurePower engine also has been selected as exclusive power for the Bombardier CSeries aircraft scheduled to enter service in 2013 and to power the Airbus A320neo aircraft family scheduled to enter service in 2015, as well as the Irkut MC-21 narrow-body jet scheduled to enter service in 2016.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

This release includes « forward looking statements » concerning anticipated business opportunities that are subject to risks and uncertainties, including with regard to the programs described in this release. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or implied in forward looking statements include the impact of deterioration or extended weakness in global economic conditions on demand for our products and services, the financial strength of customers and suppliers and on levels of air travel; and challenges in the design, development, production and support of advanced technologies and new products and services. For information identifying other important economic, political, regulatory, legal, technological, competitive and other uncertainties, see UTC’s 10-K, 10-Q and other reports filed with the SEC.

* Bombardier and CSeries are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.

MHI Commences Mitsubishi Regional Jet Assembly Work

TOKYO and NAGOYA — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation have jointly announced the commencement today by MHI of assembly work on the next-generation Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). Based on an order placed by Mitsubishi Aircraft, which is developing the MRJ, MHI began riveting work on the frame structure surrounding the emergency escape hatch for crew in the cockpit roof of the aircraft.

While manufacture of individual parts had already begun last autumn, today’s start of assembly work indicates that the MRJ project to develop Japan’s first passenger jet is progressing steadily and firmly as scheduled. The aircraft’s first flight is slated for 2012.

To mark this beginning of assembly work on the MRJ, a ceremonial rivet driving celebration was held at MHI’s Tobishima Plant. The ceremony was attended by Hideo Egawa, President of Mitsubishi Aircraft, and Akihiko Ishikawa, General Manager of the Commercial Airplanes Division of MHI’s Aerospace Systems, as well as by others involved in the project.

The start of assembly work on the MRJ signifies that the aircraft’s production mode has now progressed to a new level. Going forward MHI, in addition to producing the MRJ’s major components – including the fuselage, wings and empennage-will also engage in final assembly and equipment installation on receipt of the various components currently being produced by the many project partners.

MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft will continue to devote their utmost efforts toward making the MRJ project a success, aiming to play a significant role in the ongoing development of the global aviation industry.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) is a family of 70-to 90-seat next-generation regional jets which will offer both top-class operational economy and outstanding cabin comfort based on a vision of applying advanced mainline jet technology to create a new standard of next-generation regional jets.

The MRJ is under development by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and will be based on cutting-edge technology cultivated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries during its many years engaged in the development and manufacture of both military and commercial aircraft.

By featuring state-of-the-art aerodynamic design, noise analysis technologies and a game-changing engine, the MRJ will significantly cut fuel consumption, noise and emissions, consequently improving airline competitiveness and profitability. The MRJ will have a four-abreast seat configuration, large overhead bins, and feature an innovative slim seat offering heightened passenger comfort.

MRJ : Pratt & Whitney achève l’assemblage du premier PW1200G

publié le 28/03/2011 à 11:46, Emilie Drab

Le MRJ a son premier moteur d’essais. Pratt & Whitney a annoncé le 24 mars qu’il avait achevé l’assemblage du premier PW1200G, la version destinée à l’appareil régional japonais de Mitsubishi de son nouveau moteur de la famille PurePower.

Il s’agit du modèle PW1217G du réacteur, c’est-à-dire la version capable de fournir 17 000 livres de poussée et destinée à la version la plus longue du MRJ, le MRJ90. Il sera envoyé dans les installations du motoriste américain à West Palm Beach (Floride) pour y être testé.

Huit PW1200G d’essais seront produits dans les deux prochaines années. Le moteur doit entrer en service en 2014. Mitsubishi a conclu des accords avec All Nippon Airways et Trans States Holdings.

Ce moteur est le troisième PW1000G d’essais construit par Pratt & Whitney. Le premier modèle, un PW1500G – le modèle qui équipera les appareils de la famille Cseries de Bombardier –, a pratiquement achevé ses tests initiaux au sol et dépassé les 200 heures de tests.

Source: Aérocontact

Pratt & Whitney Completes First PurePower(R) PW1200G Engine for Mitsubishi Regional Jet

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – March 24, 2011 – Pratt & Whitney completed assembly on the first PurePower PW1217G engine to test for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft.  The engine, rated at 17,000 pounds of thrust, is the third PurePower PW1000G series engine to complete assembly.  It will be delivered to Pratt & Whitney’s West Palm Beach, Fla., facility to initiate testing. The MRJ Last Bolt Ceremony was held today at Pratt & Whitney’s Middletown Engine Center in Connecticut.  Pratt & Whitney is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX) company.

“The PurePower engine is an integral part of the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet,” Yukihiko Nakata, senior deputy project manager, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, told Pratt & Whitney employees at the MRJ Last Bolt Ceremony today.  “We continue to work closely with Pratt & Whitney to integrate the engine with the airframe, and we look forward to getting the initial test results from this first engine to test.”

“Completion of this first engine to test for the PW1200G series is another important milestone for the PurePower engine program,” said Bob Saia, vice president, Next Generation Product Family.  “Ground testing of our first PurePower engine exceeded our expectations, and I predict that testing for this first PW1217G engine will produce similar results.”

The PW1200G engine test program will run a total of eight test engines over the next 24 months.  Entry into service is scheduled for 2014.  Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has sold MRJ aircraft to All Nippon Airways and Trans States Holdings.

Pratt & Whitney recently completed initial ground testing of its first PW1000G series engine with nearly 200 hours of testing.  PurePower engine core testing concluded last year with more than 260 accumulated test hours.  In addition to the core testing, Pratt & Whitney has performed critical module-level testing for the PurePower engine program, including fan drive gear system testing with simulations of more than 60,000 takeoffs and landings, and hundreds of hours of testing on the low- and high-pressure compressor with advanced designs meeting or exceeding efficiency and operability goals.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

Trans States Holdings Signed Purchase Agreement with Mitsubishi Aircraft for 100 MRJ Aircraft on Dec 27, 2010

NAGOYA, Japan — Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation finalized and executed a definitive Purchase Agreement with Trans States Holdings (TSH) for an order of 100 next-generation Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft (50 firm, 50 options) on December 27, 2010.

TSH President Richard A. Leach visited Japan to attend the reception ceremony held on February 1st 2011 in Nagoya celebrating the definitive Purchase Agreement. Since the announcement of the LOI in October 2009, TSH and Mitsubishi Aircraft have been constantly exchanging views and strengthening the relationship. Both parties are pleased to conclude the definitive Purchase Agreement of the MRJ – the game-changing next-generation regional jet.

TSH, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is an airline holding company that owns and operates three independent airlines, Trans States Airlines, GoJet Airlines, and Compass Airlines, all of which have significant regional operations in North America. TSH is entrusted with feeder services for United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and US Airways.

TSH President Richard A. Leach said, “We have been very excited about the MRJ program for a long time, and we are extremely pleased to conclude this major order on December 27 last year reaffirming the 100 aircraft commitment we made with our LOI. Since that launch order, we have learned a lot about the quality of the Mitsubishi Aircraft team and the quality of the MRJ aircraft. Both have given us great confidence. In addition, many good things have happened with the MRJ itself. Mitsubishi Aircraft has entered the production drawing phase for the MRJ and continues to proceed with the manufacturing process.

“We are the first airline outside of Japan to purchase this exciting new aircraft, and we will be the first to place it into service in the US. We believe that the MRJ is a game-changing regional jet with its incredibly fuel efficient next generation Pratt & Whitney “PurePower” geared-turbofan engines, together addressing the vital needs of the environment, as well as the critical needs of passengers and airline operators. The MRJ will reduce fuel consumption, noise and NOx emissions—this means savings on operating costs. By combining the largest cabin in the regional jet market with the innovative seat design and very quiet cabin, we will be able to offer our passengers the best comfort of any regional jet.

“As the largest privately owned regional airline holding company in America, we offer more than 500 daily flights servicing 93 cities and transport over 8 million passengers annually. We believe that the MRJ will be the ideal aircraft to provide the seamless quality of excellent service for mainline carriers they want and thus we anxiously look forward to the day when we will be operating this spectacular 21st Century regional jet on our routes. ”

Mitsubishi Aircraft President Hideo Egawa said, “Concluding this major order with TSH, the leading company in United States, on December 27 last year has given confidence to our MRJ program. Customers around the world have high expectations for the MRJ. This will be an exceptional, ‘game changing’ aircraft of the 21st Century. Expectations and operational requirements are particularly high in the large and important U.S. market, where there are many routes with airlines operating 50- to 100-seat regional jets.”

Egawa added, “We expect the MRJ to be an aircraft that will truly contribute to improved competitiveness and profitability for the airlines, and also open the door to a greater number of airports at which the MRJ can be operated.”

This order concluded on December 27 last year, combined with the June 2010 order for 25 aircraft (15 firm, 10 options) from All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd., brings the current number of orders for the MRJ to 125 aircraft (65 firm, 60 options). Numerous other carriers around the world are expressing growing interest and enthusiasm for the MRJ.

Established in 1998, Trans States Holdings, Inc. is the largest privately held regional airline holding company in America and the parent company of three regional airlines, Trans States Airlines, GoJet Airlines and Compass Airlines. Trans States Airlines, established in 1982 as Resort Air, currently operates as United Express and US Airways Express. The current fleet of 50-seat Embraer regional jets served nearly 2.2 million passengers in 2010.

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and building industries.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation commenced operation on April 1, 2008 to conduct the design, type certification, procurement, sales & marketing and customer support of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). The MRJ is a family of 70- to 90- seat next-generation regional jet which will offer both top-class operational economy and outstanding cabin comfort. As of April 2010, Mitsubishi Aircraft is capitalized at 100 billion yen, with financing furnished by, among others, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Sumitomo Corporation and Mitsui & Co., Ltd.