Southern Manufacturing

Raytheon Aircraft Dissassembles Starship Fleet

23 June 2003

Raytheon has begun disassembling its fleet of 40 Beechcraft Starships, the company's short-lived airplane program that was first announced at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Dallas in 1983.

""The costs of supporting the fleet are prohibitive,"" says Raytheon Aircraft spokeswoman Jackie Berger. The elimination of Raytheon Aircraft's Starship fleet, the company's first composite fuselage aircraft, will mean only 13 of the 53 airplanes originally manufactured will remain in the world.

Berger says the company has already ""decommissioned"" six of the Starships it owned -- three prototype Starships and three production models. Berger says the company will scrap parts of the airplanes -- such as the fuselage -- that don't have component value.

Berger says there will be no incremental financial impact to the scrapping of the fleet. She says those costs were already accounted for when Raytheon Aircraft took charges on its commuter aircraft, the Beech 1900D. The company took charges of $693 million on the commuter aircraft in the third quarter 2001 as well as charges of $52 million ""related to used general aviation aircraft,"" according to a statement dated Oct. 23, 2002.

""The positive side of this aircraft is it gave us the knowledge and experience to take composites to the next level,"" Berger says of the company's recent composite fuselage aircraft programs, the Premier I and Hawker Horizon business jets.

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