Mitsubishi Picks Part Suppliers For Planned Regional Jet

Japanese machinery maker has picked three U.S. businesses and two companies from Japan to supply major parts for its first passenger aircraft made in the region.

TOKYO (AP) β€” Japanese machinery maker Mitsubishi Heavy said Thursday it has picked three U.S. businesses and two companies from Japan to supply major parts for its planned small jet, which will be the first passenger aircraft made in Japan.

Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. had already chosen Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp., as an engine supplier, and was negotiating with several companies to supply other major parts for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, or MRJ.

Mitsubishi last October announced the outline for the twin-engine jet, which is to seat about 70 to 90 people and is set for delivery as early as 2012. The jet, to be made with lightweight carbon fiber composite, is designed to consume about 20 percent less fuel than rival jets.

Mitsubishi said in a statement Thursday that Parker Aerospace, based in California, will be developing the hydraulic system; Hamilton Sundstrand Corp., another unit of Hartford-based United Technologies, will supply electrical power and air management systems, an auxiliary power unit and other key systems; and Rockwell Collins Inc., based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will produce a flight control system.

Tokyo-based Japanese company Nabtesco Corp. will work with Rockwell Collins on the flight control system, and Sumitomo Precision Products Co. Ltd, based in the western city of Hyogo, will produce landing gear, Mitsubishi said.

Mitsubishi has already begun marketing the MRJ to potential airline customers worldwide.

Pratt & Whitney will supply its Geared Turbofan engines for the jet, which will cost between 3 billion yen ($25.6 million) to 4 billion yen ($34.1 million). Its first flight is set for 2011, Mitsubishi has said.

Demand for smaller jets with 60-to-100 seats is expected to rise over the next 20 years in regional markets. Mitsubishi's main target markets are North America, Europe and Japan.
 
The jet would likely compete against mid-sized jet makers Bombardier Inc. of Canada and Brazil's Embraer SA, as well as companies in China and Russia that are developing regional jets.
 
Mitsubishi Heavy has past involvement in the aerospace industry, supplying composite wing parts for Boeing's 787 aircraft.
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