Textron Aviation’s announcement this week of an available head-up display aboard the 3,500-nm range Citation Longitude provides clear evidence of a surge in product investment – $200 million to $2300 million per year. Garmin’s GHD 2100, driven by Citation Longitude’s G5000 integrated avionics system, features a 30-deg. wide by 24-deg. high field of view combiner and compact overhead projector. It offers all the standard HUD symbology including flight path vector, acceleration cue, speed deviation and air data. It also will offer standard synthetic vision with future growth provisions for EVS.

Textron Aviation officials declined to quote a price for the HUD, but Rob Scholl, senior VP sales and marketing, said that it would be “priced very competitively” with Rockwell-Collins HGS3500 that’s available on Embraer Legacy 450 and 500.

The $24 million Citation Longitude is powered by well-proven Honeywell HTF7500 turbofans. In addition to the five flight test aircraft, the first four customer aircraft are being assembled at Textron Aviation’s Wichita factory. Textron Aviation is using computer-controlled mills to make single-piece spars, ribs and upper and lower wing skins, thereby eliminating hundreds of parts. Robots drill 9,000 holes in the wing structure with high precision, providing tight dimensional tolerance in the final assembly. The aircraft is designed to have the lowest direct operating costs in class because of its advanced, high sample rate diagnostics system and maintenance-friendly design.

Brad Thress, senior VP engineering, says Textron Aviation achieves product development times that are 40% to 50% shorter than competitors’ because of the depth of talent on his engineering team, vertical integration that enables the firm to build its own test articles for static and fatigue tests, the ability to perform accelerated life testing on vendor parts, and do its own bird strike, high intensity radiated field, and lightning tests. Further, Textron invests in multiple flight test aircraft so that tasks may be accomplished in parallel rather than in series.

Textron, however, long has embraced an iterative and evolutionary product design philosophy, greatly reducing risk and substantially shortening development times. CE-680A Citation Latitude, for instance, was developed as a derivative of CE-680 Citation Sovereign+. That fast-paced development program resulted in the aircraft being certified in June 2015. Sixty-eight units have been delivered to date.

Similarly, Citation Longitude shares its fuselage cross section with Citation Latitude and borrows many design features from Hawker 4000. Both aircraft use Garmin G5000 integrated avionics, with standard synthetic vision PFDs and auto-throttles.

Conversely, Textron’s 4,500-nm range Citation Hemisphere is a clean-screen design featuring a larger and longer three-zone cabin, new wing, and 12,000+ lb thrust Safran Silvercrest turbofans. Thress says that in spite of the engine’s well known teething problems, Safran is “making progress.” Textron recently completed preliminary wind tunnel tests of a scale model and it’s building a full-scale test rig to wring out the fly-by-wire control system.

Design of the clean-screen 1,600-nm range Denali, the firm’s first pressurized single-engine turboprop, also is progressing. The aircraft will feature GE’s advanced turboprop engine and a five-blade, composite McCauley propeller. Assembly of the first flight test aircraft will begin in July.