Mitsubishi gives up on Japan's first domestically manufactured passenger jet
Lessons learned could be applied to a next-gen fighter, says company
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), a core company within Japan's Mitsubishi Group, announced on Tuesday that it was finally killing its regional aircraft, the SpaceJet.
Although the decision was already made internally, Mitsubishi released the details of the cancelation to the public within its Q3 2022 reports. The company said it was "unable to find sufficient business feasibility to resume development" of the 90-passenger jet.
The public-private enterprise was launched 15 years ago and, as Japan's first domestically manufactured passenger jet, was meant to spark a new industry within the country.
Development was unfortunately paused in October 2020 after repeated delays on grounds it was not a high-growth opportunity. The project was already behind schedule and COVID-related setbacks were not helping.
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The cumulative delays and setbacks that finally did the project in, according to Mitsubishi, include the lagging of the technology partial review that prolonged development, a new industry focus on decarbonization, the difficulty in securing overseas partners, a lack of space for the product in the market, and the funds needed to acquire a type certificate.
But MHI's language suggests its aircraft designing days are not over. The company said it would "continue to utilize the knowledge of SpaceJet to develop the Japanese aircraft industry" and that it can apply its knowledge to a next-gen fighter jet.
Those lessons include designing, manufacturing, and certifying an aircraft. The SpaceJet has already logged over 3,900 flight test hours.
RIP, SpaceJet. ®