BAE to work on Mitsubishi jet

BAE Systems has signed an agreement with Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation of Japan to work on a new regional jet that should consume less fuel and emit less noise and fumes.  

According to the agreement, the global defence, security and aerospace specialist will provide design integration and certification services for the propulsion systems of the next-generation Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft.

An engineering team from BAE Systems’ Regional Aircraft business at Prestwick in Scotland will influence the new aircraft’s powerplant, pylon, nacelle, auxiliary power units and fuel systems.

The MRJ aircraft, a 70-90-seat family of twin-engine regional jets, will be powered by Pratt and Whitney PurePower PW1000G engines.

Mitsubishi has scheduled its first flight for 2012 and entry into commercial service is likely to be in 2014. Some of the current MRJ customers include All Nippon Airways and Trans States Holdings of the US.

Alan Fraser, managing director of BAE Systems Regional Aircraft, stated that the new contract took years to negotiate. ‘I believe we have a strong track record of experience and expertise and the award of this contract demonstrates the trust that Mitsubishi has in our people. This will allow us to build upon our existing capabilities and leverage them on to the next generation of aircraft. We hope this will be a first step in a developing relationship with Mitsubishi for the MRJ.’

Yukihiko Nakata, vice-president of system design at Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, said the relationship with BAE Systems could help Mitsubishi develop a strong and firm position in the future regional jet market.

BAE Systems Regional Aircraft works with commercial and defence customers on their aircraft portfolios, fleet support and engineering. The company has a trading portfolio of more than 200 aircraft.

Separately, business at BAE Systems has been relatively unscathed by the revelation on 5 February that it is being fined a total of almost $400m (£256m) by the US Department of Justice and £30m by the UK Serious Fraud Office for providing false information on US regulatory filing and not disclosing accounting records on payments made to a former marketing adviser in Tanzania.

The US Department of Justice announced BAE Systems will pay a $400m fine for intentionally failing to enact appropriate, anti-bribery preventative measures, which contrasts assertions it made to the US government.

In a statement, the Justice Department condemned BAE Systems for making hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to third parties with full knowledge that money would be passed on to foreign government decision makers to favour the company in the award of defence contracts.

It also alleged these payments were not disclosed to the State Department as US laws and regulations require the necessary export licences.

In a statement, BAE Systems chairman Dick Olver said: ‘In 2000, the company gave a commitment to the US government that it would establish and comply with defined US regulatory requirements within a certain period and it subsequently failed to honour this commitment or to disclose its shortcomings.’

Under the agreement with the Serious Fraud Office, BAE Systems will plead guilty to one charge from 1999 of breach of duty to keep accounting records in relation to payments made to a marketing adviser in Tanzania. The company will pay an agreed penalty of £30m, comprising a fine to be determined by the court with the balance paid as a charitable payment for the benefit of Tanzania.

‘In the years since the conduct referred to in these settlements occurred, the company has systematically enhanced its compliance policies and processes with a view to ensuring that the company is as widely recognised for responsible conduct as it is for high-quality products and advanced technologies,’ added Olver.