Guy Norris/MUNICH Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

BMW Rolls-Royce is proposing a new version of the BR700 turbofan to power Embraer's planned family of 70/90-seat regional jets, the ERJ-170 and -190, as the Brazilian manufacturer seeks bids from suppliers for systems and structures. Potential risk-sharing partners are expected to submit bids this month.


The BR715-50, as BMW R-R has dubbed the version, will combine the low pressure features of the BR710, which powers the Gulfstream GV and Bombardier Global Express, with the core of the Boeing 717's BR715. A decision on engine selection could come as early as May, with other contenders understood to include the General Electric CF34-8XX, the Snecma/ Pratt & Whitney Canada SPW14 and, possibly, the Allison AE3012.

Embraer says the development of the 70-seater and the stretched 90-seater will cost $750 million, to be divided between "Embraer, financial institutions and risk-sharing partners". ERJ-170/190 programme director Luis Carlos Affonso says: "We are seeking partners for the aircraft systems, such as avionics, environmental control, flight controls and engines, as well as subassemblies such as wings, tail units and fuselage segments."

A decision on whether to go ahead with the ERJ-170 is due in the second quarter, allowing first deliveries in 2002. Deliveries of the ERJ-190 would begin in 2004, says Embraer.

Full details of the BR715-50 were supplied to Embraer at the end of March by BMW R-R's engineering director, Professor Dr Gunter Kappler. The most significant external difference on the BR715-50 is the fan, which is enlarged to 1.12m (50in), compared to 1.08m for the BR710. The larger fan would enable thrust to be increased beyond the BR710's 18,000lb (80kN) without significantly enlarging the engine and still ensuring adequate ground clearance in an underwing position.

The baseline thrust requirement for the new ERJ family is 13,500-18,000lb, although the ERJ-190 is expected to grow beyond this. "The BR710 begins to run out of thrust at around 90 seats, and there may be issues concerning time on wing," says BMW R-R senior vice-president commercial, Nico Bucholz.

"Although the BR710 is rated at 13,500-18,000lb, it is optimised for the reduced cycle operating environment of corporate aircraft," says Bucholz, adding that the BR715 would be "complete overkill" for a 70-seater.

The engine will also incorporate the latest technology in the blades with three-dimensional aerodynamic design, adds Bucholz. Dr Helmut Richter, head of concepts and technologies, says that the version required a full low pressure redesign. It is not a minor tweak, and would be considered the first major new derivative, he adds.

The first meeting of the six-airline ERJ-170/190 advisory board took place in March at Embraer's Sao Jose dos Campos plant. The company displayed a mock-up of the proposed four-abreast cabin, which it claims offers more head, shoulder and leg room, and larger overhead bins, than the competing 70-seat Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet Series 700.

Source: Flight International