Mitsubishi and ANA show MRJ commitment

June 18, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) CEO Shunichi Miyanaga and the Vice Chairman of ANA Holidings, Osamu Shinobe, gave the full backing to the MRJ program today, when presenting an ANA liveried test aircraft at the Paris Air Show.

Changed leadership

The program, which has been hit by delay after delay, has now a planned delivery to launch customer ANA mid-2020. The company responsible for the aircraft program, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MAC), is a subsidiary of MHI. It was present with its CEO Hisakazu Mizutani. The  parent, the $40bn MHI, has stepped in since the January reveal that the program will have yet another delay.

From the launch at the Paris Air Show 2007 to delivery, it will now take 13 years to EIS. To ensure the project has still the full commitment from the launch customer and its owners, the Air Show presentation of the aircraft was supplemented by a common handshake in front of the aircraft, Figure 1.

Figure 1. Left O. Shinobe, V Chm ANA. Center S. Miyanaga CEO MHI. Right H. Mizutani CEO MAC. Photo: Leeham Co.

“MHI and MAC, with its partners, have a complete dedication and commitment to deliver this outstanding aircraft to the customers,” said the MHI CEO. “The aircraft will present Global program leadership paired with Japanese manufacturing skills.”

The “Global leadership” was introduced in January to safeguard against further surprises in the program. Several Western ex-OEM managers are now leading different parts of the program.

The build quality is not the problem, though. A close inspection of the third test aircraft demonstrated the high build quality of the MRJ.

During the Q&A with the CEO of MAC, Mizutani, it was confirmed that the press reports of an earlier delivery date in 2019 is an internal target date. The official delivery date is still mid-2020 to first customer ANA.

The test program has now completed flutter testing and flight loads. Flights into known icing and lightning tests have started. The aircraft has also gone through hot and cold soaking and static strength testing is complete.

8 Comments on “Mitsubishi and ANA show MRJ commitment

  1. Suspect there are too many [too late] entrants in 90-150 seat market. Oh well, the MU-2 was a screamer…except in icing conditions…ask any ‘freight dog’!

    • Too many producers and very little chance to modify regional agreements in USA. So at the moment I bet MRJ (as E175E2) will be a big sales disapointment, and in 10 years Mitsubishi will leave the segment.

      • I’m genuinely curious to know what regional agreements in the US you’re referring to.

        Of course, unless there’s a significant deficiency in the specification, it might be that the MRJ turns out to be the best and becomes a market leader! But indeed there are now a lot of suppliers, so the margins are going to be tiny for even the top manufacturer in the segment.

  2. Japan is a strange case in the civilian and military superstructures field. They seem to maintain the same companies without the wave of consolidation we have seen in other larger western countries.

    Even more strange Mitsubishi is considered the leader in fast military jets but has taken design leadership on a small civilian passenger jet. Its main rival Kawasaki does the larger military aircraft that most resemble civilian aircraft.

    No wonder the certification process has been a shambles, Mitsubishi have no idea what they are doing, just because they build government subsidised large airframe sections for Boeing ( with support Bombardier can only dream of) such as aft fuselage for 767 and 777 and wing centre box for 787.
    Would hate to think what the deferred production cost of the MRJ will end up being ?

    • The Japanese are genuinely worried North Korea, and to some extent China.

      Trump made few unfortunate policy announcements during his campaign along the lines of “they don’t pay enough, I’m bringing the boys home”. This has since been retracted by the Secretary for Defence; everything looks like it’ll stay as is, THAAD is now in South Korea, a few Aegis cruisers are supposed to be hanging around the place.

      However, the damage has been done. Japan (I mean the people, not the government) now looks at the USA as not necessarily being the totally reliable defence partner they need the USA to be. I’m sure their government privately thinks the same, and they’re now thinking that they have to hedge against that.

      And so we come to strange projects like the MRJ. A few “helicopter” carriers have been built. They tested a small satellite launcher (it failed to reach orbit), but actually it’d be a pretty good start for a counter-ICBM booster. They’ve always been good at submarines. I reckon there’s a lot of design / manufacturing capability being home grown as a result of these projects.

      There’s also been a smattering of defence treaties signed, including with us Brits. The RN can now turn up in Japan any time they want, Japan’s taking an interest in Typhoon, there’s a treaty to look at joint development of a new fighter. It feels like they’re beginning to seek alternate defence partners.

      They’ve changed their own constitution, moving away from a strictly non-military stance.

      So if they’re are quitely tooling up, I suspect they’d be prepared to lose money on a few strategically helpful projects along the way.

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