BMW ROLLS-ROYCE and CFM International are stepping up efforts to supply a powerplant for the Aviation Industries of China (AVIC)-led AE-100 regional-jet development.

China is close to selecting a Western partner for the airframe programme, and a final engine selection is expected to be made about a year later.

Boeing recently conceded defeat to Europe's Aero International (Regional) in the competition, even though the AVIC- Singapore Technologies venture has not yet made a decision.

BMW R-R is offering its BR715 turbofan, bolstered by a joint venture in China about to be unveiled by parent company R-R with AVIC. Among other things, the deal will result in AVIC promoting the engine locally.

CFMI is pitching the CFM56-9 (formerly CFM56 Lite) at the AE-100. Both manufacturers plan to offer China a significant workshare on the engines if they are selected, with some sources suggesting that complete assembly may be one option being sought.

"We have to know exactly what they want," says Gerard Laviec, CFMI president and chief executive. "We are ready to give them a lot of parts. More detailed discussions will come when the Western part of the consortium is selected."

Chinese companies are already minor subcontractors on the CFM56, where the engine is widely used, and the General Electric/ Snemca operation is already involved in joint-venture activities in China.

The Chinese are said to be particularly interested in building the high-pressure section of any engine selected for the AirExpress AE-100. Technology transfer in this area of the powerplant is likely to become an issue for both Western companies. Pratt & Whitney is also expected to pitch the PW6000 at the requirement.

Source: Flight International