General Electric believes a new centreline successor to the next-generation CF34 engine for regional jets could be ready in the 2015 timeframe by leveraging technology from CFM International's Leap 56 programme and the GEnx.
The CF34 is the regional sector's prime jet engine, powering all models in the Bombardier CRJ regional jet range and aircraft in the Embraer E-Jet family of E-170/175s and E-190/195s. Studies into a successor have been called "NG34".
Specifically, GE is targeting a 15-20% improvement in specific fuel consumption and reductions in emissions and noise.
Speaking at the Regional Airline Association annual convention in Indianapolis, Chuck Nugent, GE general manager for CF34 project development, said that the NG34 would cover thrust range to power aircraft in the 70- to 100-seat range and as market demand and requirements of airframers unfold, GE will "zero in on the right thrust class".
Nugent says there are similarities between CFM engines powering narrowbody aircraft and powerplants on regional jets, which both result in a high number of cycles.
He says GE is using the Leap 56 initiative, a new technology development programme undertaken by its joint venture partnership CFM for the CFM56 engine, as a cornerstone for the next iteration of the CF34.
Nugent say GE is focused on materials and aerodynamics as it moves forward with a new smaller jet engine, including "more efficient aerofoils for better fuel burn".
GE plans to take results of the Leap 56 rig tests after their validation and transfer the findings into the NG34 technology pipeline.