Textron Aviation has announced it is putting development of its Hemisphere large-cabin business jet on hold, to be revived at a later date.
The news, confirmed by CEO Scott Donnelly during a second quarter business call, has come about due to an apparent lack of progress on the Safran Silvercrest engine set to power the aircraft.
“The engine hasn’t yet demonstrated the performance required for the aircraft,” said Donnelly. “We would certainly revisit it [Hemisphere], but too much time has gone by here.”
This is not the first time Textron have suspended the Hemisphere, having previously done so in April 2017 due to a high-pressure compressor issue, only proceeding once Safran came back with a solution.
Donnelly was adamant the decision was made purely due to the engine issue and not competition from other companies, saying “there was only one engine suitable to meet the performance point.”
“While the aircraft/engine combination does not currently meet all the objectives, the Silvercrest engine development has made the intended progress over the past 12 months,” said a Safran spokesperson.
“The new high-pressure compressor shows performance for which ground tests results have exceeded expectations.”
Further tests will be completed to confirm the improvements, added Safran, whose contract with Textron Aviation for the Silvercrest was terminated with no financial impact for either company.