YS-X 100-seat regional transport
The YS-11, a Japanese-designed 64-seat passenger turboprop developed in the 1960s, was deemed technically sound, but few orders materialized because of market demand for jet-powered aircraft and the lack of global product support. The program incurred huge losses, and at the close of production in 1973, only 182 aircraft had been produced. In 1986 [1989?], Japan launched a YS-11 successor project, called the YSX.
The industry's successor program, the YS-X 100-seat regional transport, in development since the 1980s, has produced only feasibility studies. MITI believed that the most important project for Japan's aerospace industry was the YSX project. The Japanese government supported research for a number of years on the 80 to 100-seat YS-X transport, with the intention of eventually launching a program led by Japan with foreign participation. For the first time in 40 years, since the last project of YS-11 aircraft, an attempt will be made to develop, produce and commercialize a small-sized (70-120 seats) civil air transport system (YSX). A total of 380 million yen was allocated in FY'97 (610 million yen in 1996).
For the future, Japan was looking to collaborative projects, the most important of which is the YSX. Feasibility studies for this 90-110-passenger regional jetliner, and its engine, under intensive study, are expected to be completed in one year. The conclusions and recommendations should result in a development plan.
The feasibility studies were initiated by Japan's aircraft industry, and the development of the YSX was also expected to be led by Japanese manufacturers, with the participation of foreign partners. The YSX project is considered an important first major step for the Japanese industry to accumulate valuable and necessary experience in the commercial airplane market, based on the accomplishments of past international projects.
Japan hoped that Boeing might be the Western partner to support its YS-X project, but the company's decision to produce the 717-200 appeared to preclude U.S.-Japanese cooperation on the similar YS-X program. Japanese hopes for the YS-X suffered a setback because of the launch of the 108-seat Boeing 737-600. Japan Aircraft Development, instead of relying on a high degree of commonality with the 737 to reduce costs, was having to incorporate newer, more efficient, technology into the YS-X design. This included a composite-material wing, which further inflated development costs. Funding for the program was cut to $1.3 million for 1998-99, presumably in response to a growing competitive environment in the medium-sized aircraft sector and the industry's lack of progress on the program.
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