Diamond Aircraft Moving Forward With Turboprop

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Austrian manufacturer Diamond Aircraft is moving forward with development of its Dart 450, a new single-engine turboprop for both civil and military roles. Diamond has released few details about the Dart 450, but chief executive Christian Dries told FlightGlobal that it will be capable of performing aerobatics and will excel as a reconnaissance and training aircraft. The Dart 450 will have a wingspan of about 10 m (33 ft), a maximum takeoff weight of 2,130 kg (4,700 lb) and a range of up to 1,240 nm (2,300 km).

Diamond is seeking a strategic partner for the project, and Dries said a prototype could fly within 18 months -- in time to appear at the 2016 Farnborough Airshow. He said the company has already produced some parts for the Dart 450 and will soon start trials of the Motor Sich AI-450 turboshaft that will power the type on a test aircraft. The engine’s low hourly fuel burn rate of 90 liters and a “sound design” will give the Dart 450 an operating cost of about $500 per hour. Dries cited the potential for the Dart 450 to perform anti-narcotics missions or to be used as a military trainer.