Embraer cools to re-engined E-Jets

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With a end of the year target for decisions on its future commercial product portfolio, Embraer says a re-engined E-Jet may require too great an investment to modify the airframe to achieve the efficiency improvements it hopes for.

Carlos Eduardo Camargo, Embraer director of external communications says initial evaluations of a new engine under the wing of its 70 to 110-seat E-Jet family may not yield a great enough benefit to justify its undertaking.

"We really have to see how it works. We have engineers simulating [different configurations] working with the [engine] producers, we obviously do not have a final decision or a final idea on that," says Camargo.

Camargo says key competition from the Bombardier CS100, Mitsubishi Regional Jet and Sukhoi Superjet best E-Jet performance by 8-12%. "We have to learn to beat that," he says.

Embraer says it options are re-engining its E-Jet family, a larger clean sheet design in the 110 to 130-seat segment, or doing nothing. The company has all but ruled out developing a large turboprop aircraft and has formally shelved an E-195X, a stretch of the largest member of its E-Jet family.

In order to provide a significant enough leap in aircraft efficiency, Camargo says major modifications to the wings, pylons and landing gear would be required to accommodate a large enough fan to deliver the 8-12% improvement in fuel burn the company requires.

However, that investment could negate the benefit, says Camargo, who adds aerodynamic modifications to the wings, including Boeing 787-style raked wingtips, instead of today's blended winglet to improve efficiency, remains an options while maintaining the GE CF34-8E/10E engine under the wing of the E-170/190 aircraft families.

Engine maker Pratt & Whitney, which is offering a variant of its geared PurePower PW1000G family says "We could achieve fuel burn improvement with a GTF with an installation on today's E190 with no changes, however, in order to optimise performance and achieve double-digit benefits for a re-engining, an engine with a larger fan is required."

With the larger bypass ratio key to improved fuel efficiency, the larger front fan requirement is necessary for a GE/CFM or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine offering.

"We agree that Embraer would have to make modifications to its aircraft, including changes to the landing gear, in order to accommodate an engine with a larger fan," says P&W. We have been working closely with Embraer to study optimised installations to achieve the greatest benefits."