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Spirit gets work on new Gulfstream
Spirit gets work on new Gulfstream

Wichita-based Spirit Aero-Systems will build the wing and nacelles, or engine coverings, for a new large business jet being built by Gulfstream Aerospace, company officials said Thursday.

Savannah, Ga.-based Gulfstream announced the long-awaited jet, called the G650, Thursday morning.

Spirit will design and assemble a flight-ready wing for the $ 58.5 million aircraft at its Tulsa facility, which employs 1,800 people. It´s a contract worth more than $1 billion to Spirit, the company said.

Gulfstream president Joe Lombardo said Spirit is also building the nacelle for Rolls Royce, which is supplying the engines for the plane. That work is under way in Wichita.

The wing is new work for the Tulsa facility, which until now has built the leading and trailing edges of wings for customers.

"It´s a bigger package than we´ve normally done," said Spirit spokeswoman Debbie Gann.

The G650 will have the longest range, fastest speed and largest cabin Gulfstream has ever built, company officials said. It will have a range of 7,000 miles.

With a maximum operating speed of 0.925 Mach, or roughly 694 mph, the aircraft will edge out Cessna Aircraft´s Citation X as the fastest civil aircraft flying. The Citation X has a top speed of 0.92 Mach. Mach 1 is the speed of sound.

The aircraft is Gulfstream´s sixth in its lineup of products and will carry 11 to 18 passengers.

It is expected to make its first flight in the second half of 2009, receive federal certification in 2011 and enter service in 2012.

The company will begin taking orders for the G650 in about 30 days, officials said.

"They´re going after the very high end (of the market)," said Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia. "There´s a sizable and fast-growing segment of the market that wants the very best, and they´re willing to pay for it."

Gulfstream said to watch for more announcements. Officials, however, declined to say what else the company is working on.

Some industry experts and others say the company is developing a derivative of its midsize jet, the G200.


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