Azimut 44 Saturne
|Azimut 44 Saturne|
|Side view of the Azimut 44 Q FTR|
|Role||Narrow-body jet airliner|
|First flight||4 April 1978|
$92 million (A-44 Q FTR)
The Azimut 44 Saturne, commonly known as the A-44, is an Aininian short- to mid-range, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner made by Azimut Aviation. Introduced in 1978 as a replacement to the aging A-43 Neptune, the Saturne was a major advancement in civil aviation, owing to low operating costs, a relatively large range for a narrow-body jet and a two-crew cockpit.
Since its introduction, the Saturne family has undergone several upgrades and revisions, including the 1994 Renaissance series, which introduced the first fly-by-wire flight control system and several airframe improvements, and the 2007 Future series, which optimised the design for medium-distance point-to-point operations and low-cost carriers. The Future series is currently in production, with final assembly conducted in Talon, Ainin and Moglinov, Luziyca. It competes with the Revontuli R-50.
In continuous production since 1980, the Saturne is widely used by airlines employing a hub-and-spoke model for regional and feeder networks and by airlines flying point-to-point services in small to mid-size markets. With several thousand airframes produced, it is the bestselling aircraft in the history of Esquarium.
The Azimut 43 Neptune (known as the ACARA 43 until the company's merger with Bonsecours to form Azimut in 1967) was a major commercial success for the company upon its introduction in 1952, but increasingly began to show its age by the 1970s. An upgrade program undertaken by the recently-founded Azimut, known as the A-43bis, only delivered incremental improvements, while attracting significant negative publicity due to infamous manufacturing defects that resulted in the crash of Aininian National Flight 27 in 1971. Soon afterwards, a new, modern design was commissioned by the company management, which was struggling financially due to unexpectedly high overhead following the merger.
An initial prototype made by the A-43bis team, far more orthodox in design and retaining features such as a three-crew cockpit and an analog cockpit, was provisionally approved and slated for entry into production in 1974. However, Bonsecours engineers led by Benjamin Carpentier who had previously worked on the F/M-A2 Cormoran multirole fighter presented an alternate design that took several cues from the former military contractor, including fly-by-wire, a heavy reliance on electronic systems and major avionics upgrades. This second design was selected after turbulent internal deliberations in late 1975, and the first prototype flew in 1978. The aircraft entered production in 1980, with the first airframe rolling off the assembly line in October of that year and accepted into service by Aininian National Air Lines.
It was given the designation of 44 as it is the fourth aircraft produced by Azimut in the role of a mid-range, narrow-body airliner (after the A-41 Juno, the A-42 Ceres and the A-43 Neptune. As with all Azimut and former ACARA passenger airliners, it was named after a Latin deity, in this case Saturn, god of time and agriculture.
The designation Azimut 44 Original refers to the initial series of A-44 airliners that entered into production in the 1980s, namely the A-44A (1981), A-44B (1980), A-44E (1984) and A-44E-EXT (1989). The A-44B is considered the base model (with the B designation standing for base). with a shorter A-44A introduced a year later. In 1984, a larger A-44E entered production as a result of airline demand, featuring more powerful engines and an extended fuselage. The A-44E received mixed reception due to decreased range, as a result of the added weight and size, which resulted in the development of the A-44E-EXT five years later, which sacrificed cargo space for additional fuel.
Production of the Original series ended around the introduction of the Renaissance series, in 1995 for the A-44B and A-44E, in 2000 for the A-44A and in 2003 for the A-44E-EXT. The Original series proved to be a major commercial success and underwrote Azimut's return to profitability in the 1980s.
Azimut 44 Renaissance is a series of upgraded A-44 airliners that entered into service in the mid- to late-1990s, featuring the A-44G (1994), A-44H (1994) and A-44J (2000). The A-44AA, a revised version of the A-44A with extended range that entered production in 2001, is often considered part of the Renaissance family despite its separate development process. The A-44G was an improvement over the original A-44B while maintaining its size, adding new engines, more range and better fuel efficiency, while the A-44H likewise revised the A-44E. The A-44J, introduced six years later in 2000, was the largest Saturne ever built, being elongated to seat 252 in a one-class configuration in an abortive attempt to compete with the Revontuli R-100 for medium-range flights. It was not commercially successful and production ended in 2004 with 45 airframes built.
The rest of the Renaissance series was much more successful and enjoyed a long production life. The A-44G and A-44H's production runs concluded in 2010, while the A-44AA remains in limited production with plans to close assembly lines in 2018.
Future (FTR) series
The Azimut 44 Future (FTR) series is the only series of the A-44 family in active production, entering production in the second half of the 2000s. It includes the A-44P (2007), A-44Q (2007), A-44R (2008) and A-44R-EXT (2012). The A-44XP Saturne Mini, a truncated version of the A-44AA introduced in 2009, is also considered part of the Future series due to comparable features and similar development histories. As the latest addition to the Saturne family, it includes state-of-the-art technologies and all models remain in active production. The A-44P improves upon and replaces the A-44AA, while the A-44Q and A-44R do likewise for the A-44G and A-44H, respectively. The newest Saturne model to enter production is the A-44XP Saturne Mini, a truncated version of the A-44P that represents the first foray for the Saturne family into the regional jet market.
Cargo aircraft based on the Saturne family have been manufactured by Azimut since the 1990s and prove popular with feeder cargo networks. The first official cargo configuration of the Saturne family was introduced in 1992 based on an Original series A-44E-EXT airframe, and remained in active production until 2003. It was then replaced by the A-44C-EXT, which is based on a Renaissance series A-44H chassis. The A-44C-EXT remains in active production. Several A-44J airframes were later also converted to cargo use, but these reconfigurations are considered unofficial and unrecognised by the manufacturer. A version of the A-44C-EXT with hardened electronics and passive countermeasures is also marketed as a military transport and cleared for general export to all nations.
The Azimut Chronos is a maritime patrol aircraft built upon an A-44A airframe. It was developed in response to a contract tender issued by the Aininian Air Force to replace the ailing Bonsecours M-4, which is based on the turboprop A-42 Ceres. The base model, known as the Chronos A, was unveiled to the public in 1999 and formally adopted for military use in 2003. The first unit was delivered and accepted at a ceremony at Tourres Mercier International Airport in 2005. The model has been cleared for export to EC and Cenba member-states, while a version with previous-generation electronics known as the Chronos B is cleared for general export to all nations.
(A, B, E, E-EXT)
(AA, G, H, J)
(P, Q, R, XP)
- Aininian Air Force – 50 A-44C-EXT delivered
- Aininian Navy – 72 Chronos A total (55 delivered, 17 ordered)
- Coastal Defence and Fisheries Enforcement – 8 Chronos A ordered
- Nautaryan Navy – 16 Chronos B total (12 delivered, 4 ordered)
- Senrian Air Force – 9 Chronos B ordered
Accidents and incidents
Pls blow some planes up
|Variant||A-44XP Mini||A-44P FTR||A-44Q FTR||A-44R FTR|
|2-class, typical||98 (8F + 90Y)||132 (8F + 124Y)||152 (12F + 142Y)||178 (16F + 162Y)|
|Length||30.7 m (100 ft 9 in)||34.9 m (114 ft 6 in)||38.4 m (126 ft 3 in)||42.2 m (138 ft 5 in)|
|Wingspan||31.8 m (104 ft 4 in)||35.2 m|
(115 ft 5 in)
|Height||11.8 m |
(38 ft 9 in)
|Cabin width||3.62 m |
(11 ft 7 in)
|Fuselage width||3.80 m |
(11 ft 10 in)
|Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW)|
|Maximum landing weight (MLW)|
|Operating empty weight|
|Engines (x2)||COAV Licorne J129bis||COAV Licorne J130|
|Cruise speed||Mach 0.77 (441 kn; 508 mph; 818 km/h)|
|Maximum speed||Mach 0.82 (470 kn; 541 mph; 871 km/h)|
|Range, typical||6,385 km
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