CFM International partners Snecma and General Electric have launched advanced studies of a new engine to support a next-generation narrowbody airliner that may enter service in 2025, a top executive said on 6 December.
Snecma is investigating a new low pressure turbine architecture with improvements that include adding ceramic composites and better integration between the nacelle and the engine, said Alain Coutrot, deputy director of research and technology for Snecma parent Safran.
The new low pressure system, which includes the fan, would offer incremental improvements over the Leap engine powering the re-engined Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max and the all-new Comac C919 narrowbodies, said Coutrot, speaking on the sidelines of the Aero Montreal forum.
Snecma's new architecture would be combined with a new high pressure system in development by GE, which forms the other half of the CFM joint venture, Coutrot added.
The studies are based on developing an improved ducted fan engine with an ultra-high bypass ratio. But the improvements could be adapted to an open rotor architecture, if that propulsion option is selected for the airliners that replace the 737 and A320 families, Coutrot said. The next generation narrowbody airliners will require an engine based on a different architecture than the Leap, he said.
Coutrot did not rule out certain options for a new low pressure section, including the integration of a gear to allow the fan and the low-pressure turbine to spin at optimal speeds. Asked directly if the advanced studies include a gear, Coutrot replied: "I cannot comment."