Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has begun “certification flight test activities” for its Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), according to a company announcement on March 27. Mitsubishi says flight testing is being conducted in Moses Lake, Washington, as well as at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base for extreme environment certification tests. The company is working concurrently with both the FAA and Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) on certification processes.
“Obviously, as a Japanese aircraft manufacturer, we are working very closely with the JCAB,” said head of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation’s certification management office Andrew Telesca. “With our flight test center located in the United States, and since the United States is one of our largest target markets, having the FAA on board at the same time as the JCAB makes things much more efficient.”
In October 2018, Bombardier filed a lawsuit against Mitsubishi alleging that the company had recruited Bombardier employees and stolen trade secrets in order to assist with the certification and testing process for the MRJ. Mitsubishi filed a countersuit in January 2019 asserting that Bombardier had “engaged in illegal anticompetitive behavior with the intent to impede the development and certification” of the aircraft. Both cases remain open.
The MRJ is the first airliner to be completely designed and built in Japan since the NAMC YS-11, which stopped production in 1974. The MRJ90 version—the first variant up for certification—will seat 88 passengers in its typical configuration and be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1217G engines. The jet is expected to have a maximum range of approximately 2,000 NM and will be equipped with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics system. It is currently scheduled to enter service in 2020 with launch customer ANA Holdings. Seventy- and 100-seat versions of the MRJ are in the works as well.