Posted on: 01 June 2015 by Ross McSweeny
328 Support Services, the Type Certificate holder for the D328 (formerly Dornier 328), has announced that its parent company, Sierra Nevada Corporation, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs & Communications to meet the need of producing the country’s first regional jet as part of its Regional Aircraft Project.
The Project is based on a modernised version of the D328, with the first aircraft expected to be delivered in 2018. All intellectual property rights were recently acquired as a result of SNC’s recent acquisition of subsidiary company 328 in Germany.
“The aircraft will be the first domestically-built passenger aircraft in Turkey,” said SNC chief executive officer Fatih Ozmen. The design of a new high-tech product, dubbed the D628 aircraft series, is scheduled to begin simultaneously with production of the 328. While the Project aims to establish a world-class aerospace industry infrastructure in Turkey, it will also serve the need for a new 30-seat regional aircraft in the global aviation market.
SNC will collaborate with Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A (STM) on the Project, which will be responsible for upgrading the existing D328 and also manufacturing the aircraft. It will be marketed under the name TRJ328 for the jet version and T328 for the turboprop version.
SNC subsidiaries, 328 Support Services, 3S Certification and 3S Engineering will play a support role to SNC in building and producing the aircraft, including assisting in the establishment of a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved 21G aircraft production facility in Turkey.
With Turkey’s STM as the prime contractor, the Project builds on the capabilities of its aerospace companies, with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as subcontractor, along with several companies including Aselsan, TEI, Havelsan, Alp Aviation, Kale Aviation and Turkish Cabin Interior Inc. (TCI).
“This Project is a natural progression for SNC and our subsidiaries as we continue to capitalise on our decades of extensive experience in aircraft design modifications and our innovative, agile ability to create value for our customers,” said SNC president Eren Ozmen. “We also possess a unique capability to expedite obtaining the required certifications for numerous markets based on the D328’s proven technology and our aviation certification expertise.”
As noted, the Project includes the future design and certification of new higher capacity aircraft, which will include both the turbofan TRJ628 and turboprop TR628, with a proposed passenger seating capacity up to double that of the TRJ328.
These aircraft will have short takeoff and landing characteristics to fill a niche market for direct and frequent flights between smaller cities in Turkey that are currently not feasibly serviced with larger aircraft. Thus, the Project will provide a new avenue for both business and leisure travel within Turkey.
The aircraft will be built and certified at a yet to be disclosed new commercial production facility in Turkey, using significant investments by SNC. Both SNC and the Turkish companies say that market studies show that there are regional and international demands for these aircraft.