Embraer looks at two engines for new E-Jet family

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Embraer has been experimenting with different wing sizes for a new family of re-engined E-Jets over the last few months, according to potential engine supplier General Electric (GE).

The next-generation E-Jets are being evaluated to cover the span from 70-seaters to 130-seaters, potentially requiring two different engines to cover the range of thrust requirements, Allen Paxson, GE's general manager of regional and large business aircraft, told reporters at the Regional Airline Association convention.

"They'd like two engines," Paxson said of Embraer. "They'd like an engine for the smaller wing on the 70-seater and an engine for the larger wing on the 190/195." Embraer said the company remains in the preliminary studies phase. "It is still premature to make any comments at this point," the airframer says.

GE is developing the NG34 turbofan to offer Embraer, as the existing E-Jets are powered by the CF34. But the NG34 is advertised in a thrust range between 15,000-20,000lb, though Paxson said power levels can stretch to 23,000lb thrust.

Even at 23,000lb-thrust, the NG34 is still under-powered for some of Embraer's concepts for the largest aircraft in the re-engined E-Jet family, Paxson said.

Some of the concepts Embraer has shown GE would require an engine with at least 24,000 to 25,000lb of continuous thrust, he said. That would push GE to offer the CFM International Leap engine, which has been selected to power the larger Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 Max and COMAC C919.

But Embraer's requirements have shifted in the last few weeks, Paxson said.

"We looked at [the Leap] for a while and then the wing got smaller again, and we took that off the plate and we went back to the NG34," Paxson said. "So right now we're just discussing it with Embraer and trying to tailor it to their need."