Bombardier is upgrading its hot-selling Challenger 300, giving the follow-on model a more luxurious interior, more thrust and a considerably more tanks-full payload. NetJets, the launch customer for the Challenger 350, has signed for up to 200 aircraft in a contract with a potential value of $5.4 billion.
The new model first flew on March 2; it is due to enter service in May 2014.
The original so-called super-midsize business jet when it began service in 2004, the Challenger 300 has proven to be one of the manufacturer's strongest products with 400 delivered to date, according to Guy Hachey, president/COO of Bombardier Aerospace.
The Challenger 350, he says, is “the natural evolution of a very successful program” and clearly meant to help secure Bombardier's lead in what has become a more crowded field that now includes the Gulfstream G280, Falcon 2000S and Embraer Legacy 500/450.
The new Challenger is priced at $25.9 million and was unveiled at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition held here May 21-23. The aircraft will have 20% taller cabin windows, more standard cabin equipment, a modular galley and a Lufthansa Technik high-definition cabin management system that offers touch-screen controls. iPads or iPods. Iridium and Inmarsat satcom systems will be optional.
The 350 boasts a strengthened wing, more span, canted winglets and Honeywell HTF7350 turbofans with 7.3% more takeoff thrust. Internally, the 7,323-lb.-thrust engines are the same as the Challenger 300's 6,826-lb.-thrust HTF7000s. Slight hot-section modifications, along with a throttle push in the Fadec (full-authority digital engine control) software, enable the engine to be uprated with no loss of flat rating, durability or reliability.
Bombardier predicts the aircraft will have exceptional climb performance and be certified for steep approaches.