Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and General Electric Co. are forming a business alliance to produce a new jet-engine for business jets. The private aircraft market is one of the few bright spots in the aviation field, with hopeful forecasts for new lighter and faster models that travel long distances.
Honda and GE say they have been in discussions for more than a year and will formalize the venture later this year. The outline of the agreement was inked in Tokyo on Sunday, February 15, by Honda Motor president and CEO Takeo Fukui and GE Transportation president and CEO David Calhoun.
GE is one of the top manufacturers of engines for all types of jet aircraft.
The agreement calls for Honda and GE to develop and certify a design developed by Honda, the HF118 turbofan jet engine. Honda entered the jet engine/aircraft field 18 years ago and has been developing the lightweight engine (designed for the 1,000-3,500-lb thrust class) in 1999.
The HF118 has run more than 1,400 hours, including ground tests, and more than 200 hours in flight tests on an current test aircraft. Two HF118 engines have powered the HondaJet, experimental compact business jet, in flight tests initiated in December 2003.
The Honda/GE basic agreement calls for:
- joint certification of the HF118;
- joint marketing of the engine, under a joint brand, with airframe manufacturers; and,
- ongoing discussions on the business structure for mass production of the engine.
Said Calhoun: We have great respect for the technology, design and performance built into Honda's HF118 engine. There are tremendous benefits to Honda and GE entering the business jet engine market together. Honda is the world's leading producer of engines for motorcycles, automobiles, and power products with superb technology. We are delighted to form a strategic alliance."