328 Support Services GmbH, the type certificate holder for the D328, is pleased to announce 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 first aircraft is expected to be delivered in 2018.
The foundation of the project is to be based around a modernised version of the D328 aircraft. 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, will start simultaneously with production of the 328 series. While the project establishes 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.
Collaboration with leading Turkish aviation companies
SNC will collaborate with Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A. (STM) on the project, who 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 GmbH, 3S Certification LLC and 3S Engineering LLC will play a vital support role to SNC in building and producing these aircraft, including assisting in the establishment of a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved 21G aircraft production facility in Turkey.
The Republic of Turkey took a low-risk, cost-effective strategy for the project by electing to work with SNC, a well-established, global aerospace company, and capitalising on the existing intellectual property and assets of the D328 aircraft recently acquired by SNC. With Turkey’s STM as the prime contractor, the project also leverages the capabilities of national 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 cooperation will enable a rapid, successful launch of the Republic of Turkey’s Regional Aircraft Project.
"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."
Higher seat capacity regional aircraft is planned
Parallel with the manufacturing of the TRJ328 and T328 aircraft, which will have 32 seats, the project includes the future design and certification of new higher capacity TRJ628 jet and TR628 turboprop aircraft, with a proposed passenger seating capacity up to double that of the TRJ328.
These aircraft, with their unique short take-off and landing characteristics 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. It also has the potential to create hundreds of aerospace jobs both in Turkey and in the US and Germany.
The aircraft for the project will be built and certified at a yet to be disclosed new commercial production facility in Turkey, using significant investments by SNC. These modern facilities, coupled with the high-tech, commercial aeronautics technology developed by SNC and Turkish engineers under the Project, will contribute significantly to bolstering the aviation and aerospace industry in Turkey.
Extensive market studies show that these aircraft are not only needed in the domestic arena, but that there are regional and international demands as well. As a result, SNC anticipates that it will secure licensed production of such aircraft for sale in the United States, including sales to the US Government.