Bombardier announced at the Farnborough Airshow this week that its three Learjets currently in development are progressing toward certification on schedule. The Learjet 85, 70 and 75 are expected to enter into service next year, the company said.
It may appear overly ambitious to develop three new jets simultaneously, but the Learjet 70 and 75, which were announced earlier this spring, are upgraded versions of the Lear 40 and 45. Bombardier has logged more than 135 flights using modified versions of the Learjet 40 XR and Learjet 45 XR as test beds, particularly for the development of the new Vision Flight Deck, which includes Garmin’s G5000 integrated digital avionics suite.
The G5000 was also the avionics of choice for Cessna’s recently announced Citation Latitude and Longitude as well as the upgraded Ten. The race is now on to see which airplane will reach the first customer with the new touch-screen capable avionics suite. If the projected schedule is met, it looks like a Learjet will take the prize since both the 70 and 75 are expected to enter into service during the first half of 2013, according to Bombardier. Cessna projects first deliveries of the Ten in the second half of 2013 and the new Latitude and Longitude have a few years to go before certification is complete.
The clean-sheet Learjet 85, which will feature Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion avionics suite, is also slated for first deliveries next year, though the first flight has yet to be completed. Bombardier says it is close to achieving this milestone, however, and there are four test airplanes in various stages of completion. “Our suppliers continue to keep up with our rigorous schedules as we work with our strategic partners across our aircraft programs,” said Ralph Acs, Bombardier’s vice president and general manager, Learjet, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “The final assembly line in Wichita is ready, and we are eager to assemble the first aircraft.”