EADS Socata Chairman and CEO Jean-Michel Leonard said on Oct. 6 that the company’s much-anticipated twin-engine airplane would be bigger and faster than the TBM 850, and have two more seats.
“It will be 20 percent faster than the TBM 850,” said Jacques Lordon, Socata’s vice president of general aviation aircraft engineering. That makes the NTx, as Socata is calling the project, a 384-knot, turbine-powered twin with eight seats. A decision has not yet been made as to whether the NTx’s engines will be turboprops or fanjets, although the NTx has been in development for two years already.
Fresh investment from anticipated majority shareholder Daher makes the NTx (the NT stands for “Next Twin,” we’re told) possible, with Daher taking a 70-percent share of Socata. EADS Socata will retain a 30-percent share. The merger is likely to take place by the end of 2008.
Daher is a French manufacturer of aerospace, nuclear, defense, and automotive equipment. It has 5,000 employees and currently manufactures subassemblies for Embraer’s Phenom 100 and Gulfstream’s G650.