Raytheon Misses Hawker 4000 Certification Date

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Amid all the talk of manufacturers meeting or beating their announced new-aircraft certification dates comes Raytheon, which has delayed its plans for the Hawker 4000, formerly the Hawker Horizon. So far, however, launch customer NetJets doesn't seem too worried, especially since the delay is a minor one sought by the manufacturer. The delay's source? Raytheon wants to install a lightning protection system on the second of its two certification prototypes before beginning the final phase of testing. The protection system is already installed on the first prototype of the $18.9 million bizjet. According to published reports, Raytheon does not believe the delay will affect delivery schedules. The airframer expects FAA certification in February.

In December, fractional operator NetJets ordered 50 of the new aircraft for its fleet, a deal valued at more than $1 billion, which included a 10-year guaranteed maintenance program. Deliveries to NetJets are set to begin in 2007 and continue through 2013. Some 80 Hawker 4000s have been ordered so far, with 11 scheduled for delivery in 2006. The wait -- if there is one -- may be worth it: The Hawker 4000's performance is projected to be remarkable, including a sea level-to-FL370 climb in just over 13 minutes. Once at altitude, the Hawker 4000's maximum cruise speed is Mach 0.84. It should have nonstop, coast-to-coast range in most wind conditions.