Boeing’s unveiling of the 737-7, -8 and -9 New Engine Family confirms many of the changes the airframer must make to the narrowbody to support the integration of the CFM International LEAP-1B engine, including significant changes to the aircraft’s fuselage.
Unclear from the rendering is the exact size of the LEAP-1B engine, believed to be 66in, avoiding any major nose landing gear changes to maintain a 17in ground clearance beneath the nacelles.
Perhaps even more significantly, the rendering illustrates the elimination of an aft body join once present on the 737-700. The join on the -700 comes just forward of the last two passenger windows ahead of door two. On Boeing’s 737-7 rendering, no such join is present, potentially a significant weight-saving move.
The 737NE’s wing’s trailing edge has also been refined with reshaped flap fairings, likely for drag reduction on the strengthened wing.
Leading the engineering effort to update the 737 will be Michael Teal, who most recently served as chief engineer for the General Electric GEnx-2B-powered 747-8 program, which began its development as a re-engined and stretched 747-400.
In addition to the July commitment from American Airlines for 100 of the updated 737, Boeing says that four additional airlines have committed to 396 aircraft, the first of which is expected to enter service in 2017.