MTU, AVIC complete feasibility study on future C919 engine

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MTU Aero Engines and AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine (ACAE) have completed a feasibility study on the CJ-1000A, the future powerplant of the Comac C919.

"We've conducted an engine life cycle study to evaluate the feasibility of the engine concept," an MTU spokeswoman tells Flightglobal.

She declined to give further information on the study findings, quoting a confidentiality agreement between the two companies.

The C919 narrowbody, set to compete against the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, will initially be equipped with CFM International Leap-1C engines. The aircraft is scheduled to have its first flight in 2014, followed by entry into service in 2016. ACAE is thus, developing a competing engine to power the aircraft.

In September 2011, the German engine subassembly manufacturer and maintenance provider had signed an agreement with ACAE to explore ways to collaborate on the CJ-1000A. As a first step, the two firms started a feasibility study into how the medium-thrust engine can be built in China.

The possible collaboration to develop the all-new aircraft engine to compete with western designs, however, remains undecided as the partners continue analysing prospects. Analysts have said one possible deterrent is the intellectual property risks that the collaboration could present for the western engine manufacturer.

"No decisions on the next steps have been taken among the partners. We will discuss these next steps in due course, but are not in a position to provide a timeline now," says MTU's spokeswoman.

AVIC has said that the CJ-1000A will produce thrust of up to 44,000lb (196kN). It plans to have all of the engine's key functions ready by 2016 and is targeting an entry into service in 2020.

At Airshow China in Zhuhai this month, AVIC displayed a mockup of a high bypass ratio turbofan engine, which was also touted as the CJ-1000A.

In a brochure, it adds that the engine's features include having a lower fuel consumption, lower emissions and noise, longer life cycle and higher efficiency as well as lower maintenance costs.

Its high pressure turbine will also use a "new generation single crystal blade" and the engine will also have "curved-swept hollow fan blades".