Mitsubishi delays MRJ90 EIS one year, IDs “issues”

  • HOLIDAY SCHEDULE: Unless there is major, breaking news, Leeham News and Comment is taking the Christmas-New Year’s holidays off. We resume our normal publishing scheduled Jan. 4, 2016.

Update, Dec. 25: The Seattle Times reports the MRJ90 doesn’t meet the 150% certification requirement.

Update, Dec. 24: Mitsubishi’s biggest customer for the MRJ90 weighed in on the latest news of a delay and structural issues. From today’s Wall Street Journal:

SkyWest Inc., the largest U.S. regional airline operator by revenue, has as many as 200 of the Mitsubishi jets on order. In advance of Mitsubishi’s news conference Thursday, a SkyWest spokeswoman said the company was sticking with its order, but said it was “dependent on flying contracts, scope and aircraft availability.”

There are enough caveats in that statement to be cause for worry about the solidity of the order. Trans States Airlines of the USA, the second largest customer, could not be reached (it was after hours) by the WSJ for comment. Launch customer and launch operator ANA stood behind the company, the WSJ reported.

Original post:

Dec. 23, 21015: Mitsubishi issued a press release at 4pm Tokyo time Dec. 24 (11pm Seattle Time Dec. 23), announcing a delay of entry into service by about a year from 2Q2017. The press release said “issues” arose during flight testing, but the PR did not identify what these are.

The press conference is going on as this is posted. The press release is below. The short PPT/PDF presentation is here: 20151224_Update on MRJ Development Status

MRJ’s Latest Development Status

Nagoya, December 24, 2015 –
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) today announced that the companies will change the first delivery schedule of the MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet), their next-generation regional jet, from the second quarter of 2017 to approximately one year later.

The first flight and the subsequent flight tests have confirmed the basic characteristics to be satisfactory. However, we also have recognized several issues as we attempt to accelerate our development. In order to tackle these issues and address the perspectives below, we have reviewed and revised our overall schedule.

Specifically, in the progress of our engineering work together with experts in the United States, we have made additions to and revisions of test items in order to complete a better-integrated aircraft. These have been reflected in the new delivery schedule. In addition, we have undertaken an overall review with our partners, and reflected this in our development schedule.

Looking ahead, we will be managing our milestones, and increasing the precision of our schedule as we progress. We will also carry out flight test campaign in North America as soon as feasible and assign the roles and responsibilities of the three engineering bases (Mitsubishi Aircraft Headquarters, Seattle Engineering Center and Moses-Lake Test Center) for prompt execution in all fields. With all these measures, we aim to propel the development of the MRJ.

We remain firmly committed to providing our customers with better-integrated aircraft with higher levels of safety and reliability, as well as high-quality services.

16 Comments on “Mitsubishi delays MRJ90 EIS one year, IDs “issues”

  1. – Integration problems
    – Structural strengthening

    It seem every one learned lessons during the last decade. Better be upfront and complete maturation milestones before going to the next stage or start producing frames for later rework.

    Further opportunities for Embraer..

    • “– Integration problems
      – Structural strengthening”

      This could probably be translated to:
      – The avionics don’t work well together.
      – The wing broke during Ultimate Load Test

    • I think that’s harsh. The problem is that you don’t know whether Mitsubishi is being open and upfront (unlike Boeing and Airbus on their previous projects) about problems that are significant but manageable. Or it is issuing a bland statement that covers up a genuine crisis.

      I guess we won’t know until the “several issues” and “perspectives” are revealed.

      On national characteristics, Japanese companies tend to have high standards (favoring the first interpretation) and a strong desire to suppress discussion of issues (favoring the second)

      Merry Christmas, all

      • More details at Fightglobal here

        Rework across the board: strengthen fuselage; strengthen wings; upgrade landing gear; new versions of avionics and FADEC software. They aim to complete all this in two months and spend the rest of the time in test.

        Not looking good and somewhat reminiscent of the 787, I think. They were supposed to be in the validation phase now.

  2. December 23, 2015 — 8:00 AM CET, Bloomberg

    “The rollout of the upgraded version of the E190 jetliner, known as the E190-E2, has been set for late February, according to Embraer, which plans a formal announcement of the schedule on Wednesday.

    The first flight of the plane is projected to be in next year’s second half, Embraer said by e-mail, ahead of a planned commercial debut in 2018.”

  3. All the OEM’s can’t seem to be accurate in giving a reasonable EIS date. It seems the sales department is overriding the design and manufacturing people when promising the finished product on time.
    The aircraft that are late are not such radical departures from current frames and yet the delay’s are the norm.
    Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.

  4. Its a tough dance if you don’t promise then you get no orders, but we all know its almost certainly going to be late, just how late is the $64 question.

    And we are shooting ourselves in the foot with scope clauses.

  5. It’s really bad news for Mitsubishi. If the plane needs airframe strengthening, it’s going to add to weight. How was it not correctly computed?

    • The answer is right there Carlos in your wording – “computed” They have obviously written a structural computer model which simulates flight conditions that hasnt been well validated with an actual instrumented flying aircraft.

  6. If I recall, they bent the rudder pedal before the first flight.
    Perhaps, as alluded to by dukeofurl, they had a “Gimli Glider type issue.
    To those too young to remember, the Gimli glider was a 767 which took off thinking it had lots of gallons of fuel on board. Pity was it was liters and it ran out of fuel.
    Obviously cannot blame metric conversion here, but perhaps an incorrect coefficient has been applied?

    Happy new year to all and thanks to the Leeham team for such a great site.

  7. Problems with the MRJ also suggests this to me : is it the less dependence debut on the failing regional business model ?
    The problems of the MRJ , enlightening the future problems of regional aviation in the United States? An aircraft of over 90 seats it should not end up in the main airline? What new justifications to incorporate MRJ , of E2-190-195 CS100-300 and in the same fleet of the major airlines ?

  8. As nothings going on I am going to throw this one in, out of topic.

    A while back I had proposed that the best replacement for the P3 was a Herc. I was seriously dissed by at least one person, claiming it can’t be done.

    Read the following and towards the end, Lockheed is indeed working on a Maritime version. Yes it can be done, it would be far better than the P8 for prosecuting a sub (maybe not the whole maritime patrol that its evolved into but those also should be kept separate IMNSHO)

    Keep in mind, no one has had sub issues (direct combat except Falkland) since WWII.

    Also keep in mind the only thing that kept the British fleet from being sunk by the operational Argentine sub was torpedoes that had been screwed up in a maint activity (and never test fired) , otherwise 3 or 4 sunk ships for sure. Brits never even knew it was there.

    If we ever get into a hot war with subs, there is likely to be major surprises.

    Also remember the Chinese sub that surfaced in the middle of a US battle groups a few years back.

    A dedicated sub hunter of the P3 type is needed.

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