Embraer studies common wing for re-engined E-Jet family

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Embraer is exploring the possibility of utilising a common wing across the proposed three members of its re-engined 'G2' E-Jet family, as it leans towards a 2018 service-entry target to facilitate the use of an all-new powerplant.

The smallest members of the current E-Jet family - the E-170 and E-175 - are equipped with a smaller wing than the E-190 and E-195. The Brazilian manufacturer is considering whether to drop the 70-78-seat E-170-sized model, leaving the re-engined family to cover the 78-122-seat range, potentially with the same wing design.

Embraer commercial aviation president Paulo Cesar Silva, speaking at the company's European headquarters in Paris on 5 June, said a common wing "is an option, technically speaking, but it depends on the engine that we select". He explains: "How efficient would the engine be on the smaller jet if we only add the new engine and not change the wing? It's still under evaluation. We would like to do only three models."

Cesar says the manufacturer is "not in a rush" to select an engine, and is targeting a decision "towards the end of this year". Although some engines will be available "in 2016", he says that new centreline engines from General Electric and Rolls-Royce will not be ready for service-entry "until 2018".

General Electric, which supplies the CF34 engine that powers existing E-Jets, is working on its NG34 concept, while Rolls-Royce may offer an powerplant based on its Advance 2 studies.

Whichever engine is chosen, structural changes to the airframe will be required to accommodate a "much larger" fan, says Cesar. Re-engining the E-Jets to provide a 10-12% efficiency gain is necessary because the larger Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max models "definitely will offset the majority of the savings that we have now". Cesar adds: "Our target is to achieve a little bit better [advantage over the A320 and 737] than what we have today."

Embraer aims for a commercial launch decision for the G2 family by early next year and an industrial launch by the end of 2013, subject to sufficient commitments being secured.