Javelin MK-10 / MK-20 / MK-30
Former Air Force pilot George Bye, president of Aviation Technology Group, founded the company in 2000 to build a high-performance business jet. ATG focused on developing high-performance executive jets and derivatives for government markets. To pave the way and to plan for future successes, ATG sought to enhance its collaborative process with global partners and suppliers, and improve internal operations. By 2002 the company said it had received 100 orders for the $1.9 million jets and expects to begin making deliveries in early 2005. By 2007 ATG expected first deliveries of the latest Javelin aircraft for commercial use in 2010.
Inspired by a rough sketch made by its founder, George Bye, Aviation Technology Group incorporated in June 2000 to continue developing and refining its high-performance executive aircraft. By 2007 Colorado-based ATG had grown into a company of more than 100 employees dedicated to the design, development, and production of executive jets and derivatives for government markets, including the Javelin Military Trainer.
The Javelin has a design resembling a fighter aircraft, an unusual concept for civilian jets. The Javelin represents an unrivaled twist on the very light jet market, owing its sleek looks and efficient handling to breakthrough avionics systems, lightweight turbofan engines and ergonomic design. In addition, the two-seater design is unique to the Javelin in a market of VLJs that usually seat four or more. ATG intends to expand the Javelin platform to include a military trainer, making it one of the most versatile jets on the market. "Its efficiency and versatility make it ideal for personal, business and government use," said ATG CEO George Bye. "That's what makes the Javelin so unique to this industry."
Bye dreamed of merging luxury with performance when he formed ATG in 2000 and decided to take the VLJ concept to its extreme. A former fighter pilot instructor, Bye says that the Javelin rivals the speed and agility of the USAF T-38 advanced jet trainer. "It incorporates advanced technology with the latest composite structural materials and manufacturing processes," he said. "Previous to these developments, there was little potential for something like the Javelin because it would have to be much larger, heavier and incredibly expensive." Tentatively priced at $2.5 million, the Javelin was touted by the company as a faster, less pricey option for the general aviation market's "executive sport" sector. Other reports stated that pre-orders were being sold for approximately US$ 2.995 million in the civil market.
In 2002 the company proposed a new fighter jet to take over the huge job of patrolling the nation's skies. The Homeland Defense Interceptor would be cheaper and more efficient than F-15s and F-16s flying surveillance. The Interceptor - much smaller than an F-15 or F-16 and carrying less weaponry and no bombs - would cost $4.2 million. A Boeing-built F-15 Eagle costs $35 million, Bye said, and a Lockheed Martin-built F-16 Falcon costs $22 million.
Another interesting aspect of ATG's progress is that it had been accomplished as a privately held corporation. "When people take stock of our leadership team, our advanced technology and our strategic aerospace marketing and development partners, they begin to see the remarkable story of a new Colorado-based company," said Bye, who spends much of his time building the company and traveling to win the hearts of future customers. Assembling his management dream team in late 2004, Bye convinced formerly retired Cessna and Jeppesen executives Charlie Johnson and Horst Bergmann to join the payroll. With 80+ years of combined aviation know-how, Johnson and Bergmann lend both experience and industry passion to ATG.
In early 2004 Aviation Technology Group ended a 10-month expansion trek in Albuquerque, NM. The aviation firm planned to build a new airplane manufacturing plant in New Mexico that would eventually employ more than 200 workers. One major factor was New Mexico's $6.25 million in support. The company announced its site choice shortly after the New Mexico State Investment Council approved investing the capital in the startup company. The state's $6.25 million is half the funding to develop a Javelin prototype. Other private investors had already committed the other $6.25 million required for prototype development, Bye said at a January 2004 hearing of an Investment Council committee. Eclipse Aviation is the anchor tenant for Albuquerque's Aerospace Technology Park (ATP).
In October 2004 Aviation Technology Group (ATG) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) said they have signed a strategic cooperative agreement for the design, development, and manufacture of an Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT), based on ATG's two-seat Javelin, for a variety of advanced military training and support requirements. "We are committed to build upon our progress in the civil sector by entering the advanced training market with IAI," George Bye, chairman and chief executive officer of ATG, said in a statement. "The Javelin AJT concept allows flight training units to improve training effectiveness while simultaneously reducing budgets."
IAI's Lahav Division studies showed that most of the trainer aircraft currently in use are old and technologically outdated. Many of them will have tobe replaced in the next few years. After review-ing several potential candidates, IAI concluded that the Javelin MK-10 design offered the best potential for a low cost aircraft that met all of therequirements of a military jet trainer. ATG would develop, manufacture andmarket the Javelin MK-10 for the civil aircraft markets around the world. The Javelin MK-20 and MK-30 aircraft, destined for military use, would be developed and manufactured by IAI as derivatives of the MK-10, and IAI would lead themarketing efforts outside the United States. In the U.S. the military marketing would be a joint effort.
Performance and cost were the majorfactors that make the Javelin different from othertrainers. It has a significantly lower acquisition price and Direct Operating Costs (DOC). The manufacturing processes made use of the latest technology. The Javelin uses an all-composite primary structure resulting in low weight and high durability. It utilizes the Williams FJ-33-18M engine and an advanced Avidyne integratedavionics system. Most trainers are dual purpose - for both training and attack, and are expensive. What was special about the Javelin was that it was designed specifically for use as a trainer and therefore can be marketed at a competitive price. Bye hoped to capture just 8 percent of the very-light-jet market, which will amount to 430 airplanes in the next 10 years.
Few aircraft start-ups manage to endure the Federal Aviation Administration's lengthy, expensive testing and certification process for production aircraft. On February 15, 2005, Aviation Technology Group (ATG) applied to the FAA for a type certificate for the Javelin Model 100. Changes in technology have given rise to advanced airplane electrical and electronic systems and higher energy levels from high-power radio frequency transmitters such as radio and television broadcast stations, radar and satellite uplink transmitters. The combined effect of these developments has been an increased susceptibility of electrical and electronic systems to electromagnetic fields. The proposed modification incorporates a novel or unusual design feature, such as electrical and electronic systems, that are vulnerable to HIRF external to the airplane.
The HIRF can degrade electronic systems performance by damaging components or upsetting system functions. Furthermore, the HIRF environment has undergone a transformation that was not foreseen when the current requirements were developed. Higher energy levels are radiated from transmitters that are used for radar, radio, and television. Also, the number of transmitters has increased significantly. There is uncertainty concerning the effectiveness of airframe shielding for HIRF. Furthermore, coupling to cockpit-installed equipment through the cockpit window apertures is undefined. The combined effect of the technological advances in airplane design and the changing environment has resulted in an increased level of vulnerability of electrical and electronic systems required for the continued safe flight and landing of the airplane.
The Javelin Model 100 airplanes would have novel and unusual design features when compared to the state of technology envisaged in the applicable airworthiness standards. These novel and unusual design features include the installation of electrical and electronic systems that perform critical functions for which the applicable regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate airworthiness standards for the protection of these systems from the effects of high intensity radiated fields (HIRF). These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Federal Aviation Administration considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to the airworthiness standards applicable to these airplanes.
Aviation Technology Group's Javelin prototype completed a 35-min. maiden flight from Centennial Airport near Denver on September 30, 2005. The mission was flown exactly to plan. All systems performed as intended and every point in the test profile was successfully completed.The results of the first flight gave the ATG/IAIteam a baseline of the Javelin's flying qualities, handling characteristics and initial take-off and landing performance. The four subsequent testflights provided additional information that benefited the development of the two military training aircraft.
In 2005 ATG switched to Front Range, CO as the final-assembly site. At that time the company had reached 100 deposits for aircraft, with plans for first deliveries in 2008.
At the beginning of 2007 Aviation Technology Group (ATG) and Israel Aerospace Industries engaged Citigroup to help raise some $200 million to finance certification of the Javelin. But this effort appears to have failed. In the interim, short-term funding from private sources kept the company going. Bye stepped down, and the company was seeking a new CEO. Control shifted to the company's board of directors, which included Horst Bergmann, retired CEO of chart provider Jeppesen, and Charlie Johnson, a former president of Cessna Aircraft.
In December 2007 Aviation Technology Group (ATG) halted development of the Javelin very light jet, after efforts to raise further financing failed.ATG issued a statement on 18 December saying "it is unlikely that adequate funding can be secured in a timely manner. ATG has therefore decided to halt development of the Javelin at this time." At that time the company claimed to have around 150 deposits for aircraft. Virtually all of the company's 50 employees were sent home on Monday, Dec. 17, leaving less than a dozen to continue operations at its Centennial Airport, Englewood, Colo., headquarters.
Israel Aerospace Industries appeared unlikely to bail out its strategic partner. ATG's board of directors attempted to engage in negotiations with strategic partner Israel Aerospace Industries and various financial institutions to obtain more funding or sell the company to interested parties, but those plans fell through. Israel Aerospace Industries still planned to offer an advanced trainer to the Israeli air force. IAI believes an opportunity exists to replace the air force's Douglas A-4 Skyhawk trainers by 2016, and company sources said efforts continud to "form the right group" to offer a solution "with an affordable price tag". Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 Master and the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50 emerged as the leading candidates. The Israeli air force has an inventory of 20 two-seat TA-4H/J trainers.
In June 2008 Aviation Technology Group filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate its assets. In its bankruptcy filing, ATG estimated it had $ 10 million to $ 50 million in assets and said it owed between $ 50 million and $ 100 million to fewer than 200 creditors.
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