CFM’s joint owners – GE and Snecma – are the first of the world’s engine makers to announce they are to develop a ‘third generation’ powerplant –codenamed Leap-X – to power the successors of today’s single-aisle B737 and A320 airliner families. The two companies have also signed an agreement extending their 50:50 partnership, originally created in 1974 to produce the CFM56 family of engines, until 2040.
Certification of the new engine is scheduled for 2016, well in advance of the ‘around 2020’ date suggested by the two major airframers for the earliest EIS of the new generation of narrow-bodied airliners.
In parallel with Leap-X, CFM’s joint owners will be researching and developing an open-rotor engine, using similar core technology and scheduled to be available for potential EIS around 2020.
CFM claims R&D expenditure of $2 billion since 1995 and up to 2010 – although with entirely new engines generally reckoned to cost that amount individually, it looks like GE and Snecma will be dipping even deeper into their research pockets over the coming decade-and-a-bit.
Source: Flight International