CFM International (CFMI) says it is close to agreement with Ilyushin and Tashkent manufacturing complex TAPO on the launch of an Il-76 re-engining programme after the emergence of a potential customer for at least five aircraft.

Meanwhile, the engine manufacturer has found "significant" efficiency gains during initial full-scale tests of a swept wide chord fan design for its TECH56 programme.

The identity of the company interested in a CFM56-powered Il-76 has not been disclosed, but is understood to be a UK-based financial institution. The project would involve installing the CFM56-5C, which powers the Airbus A340-200/300, on the stretched MF version of the four-engined Il-76 freighter, which is currently powered by the Avidvigatel PS-90.

CFMI president Gerard Laviec says a framework agreement was reached with Ilyushin and TAPO at the Paris air show in June to offer the re-engined Il-76MF.

Meanwhile, CFMI says the advanced swept wide-chord fan blade design for future and retrofit CFM56 engines has demonstrated an improvement of up to 3% in mass flow and "significant" efficiency gains during initial full-scale test runs carried out on a modified CFM56-7 at its French partner Snecma's Villaroche evaluation site.

The new fan is a critical element of CFM International's TECH56 initiative, which is aimed at improving performance, quality, cost and reliability for existing engines, as well as providing a development platform for next generation engines.

CFM says about 50h of baseline performance tests have been completed, with "better than expected" results from the 129cm diameter fan. Mass flow measurements were 2% to 3% greater than for the CFM56-7, which is itself fitted with the latest production wide chord fan, and efficiency was also improved.

Source: Flight International