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Textron halts Hemisphere programme amid more Silvercrest issues

Posted 18 July 2019 · Add Comment

Textron has announced that its new flagship business jet, the Hemisphere program has been put on hold.

Picture (c) Textron Aviation

At the same time the initial contract between Cessna (Textron Aviation) and Safran Aircraft Engines is also terminated with no financial impact for either partner.

Safran’s Silvercrest had been selected for the programme. It was also to have been powering the Falcon 5X but was deselected and the programme was abandoned to make way for the Falcon 6X following delays from the French enginemaker. Dassault switched to the P&WC’s PW800-series engine for its new widebody.

 

In a statement today Safran said that while the aircraft / engine combination does not currently meet all the objectives, the Silvercrest engine development had made the intended progress over the past 12 months. “The new high pressure compressor shows performance for which ground tests results have exceeded
Expectations,” the company said. Upcoming tests are planned to further confirm engine improvements and complete the overall engine performance and durability validation.
Safran said its aircraft engines division continues to work on the Silvercrest technology suite as a R&T platform
and “will update Textron on the product completion thus providing them with an opportunity for
a reassessment of the situation.”
Speaking in an investor’s call yesterday Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly said the company is "waiting to see how the engine plays out. And then, based on that, we'll make our decisions and move forward knowing what the performance of the engine is." 
He said it was ongoing problems with the engine that caused the Wichita manufacturer to suspend the programme.
“We have determined that the engine has not yet demonstrated the performance required for the aircraft design and we have put the program on hold,” Donnelly said. “Any decision to revisit the program in the future would depend on the state of the market, proven engine performance and a competitive landscape at that time,” Donnelly said.
The Hemisphere was due to take the Citation family into uncharted space, and P&WC’s hopes that they may repeat their deal grab from the Dassault cancellation were dampened.
“There was really on one engine in development that was suitable to meet that performance point,” he said. “Too much time has gone by here … we can’t expect our customers to wait in uncertainty any longer,” Donnelly said. “There’s still a potential for the Hemisphere out there. We would have to evaluate and understand the competitive dynamic, what’s going on in the marketplace, what’s going on with customers, to determine at that later time if that product would make sense or not.”  
The large cabin jet – set to compete with Bombardier, Gulfstream and Dassault – was set to offer a 4,500 nautical miles range and cruise at Mach 0.9 Announced in November 2015, it was then expected to fly later this year, but delays to the engine programme had led to a freeze on the project last year.
 

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