The core demonstrator for Snecma’s new Silvercrest ‘10K’ engine is performing well and the manufacturer hopes to have news from airframers on selecting the 10,000lb thrust powerplant in early 2009.

The programme’s GM, Laurence Finet, says that since this year’s EBACE in Geneva, the Silvercrest demonstrator has been fully disassembled and in the intervening months all the parts and data have been analyzed minutely – the resulting information being discussed at a final technical review meeting held last week in France.

“I’m pleased to say that the meeting confirmed that the core demonstrator performed excellently with all the parts examined appearing to be brand new, despite running for around 80h, including 62h in combustion mode and at full take-off power of 20,300rpm.”

Finet says: “We are currently working with some OEMs - more than one - regarding using Silvercrest engines on their business jets, although the negotiations are not all at the same stage. We hope to have some news early in 2009 although this is, of course, down to when the airframers want to make an announcement, assuming that we’re successful. All the competitions are bound to be tough.”

The final design of the engine isn’t completely locked down at this stage, as potential users of the Silvercrest engine may, for instance, require a specific fan size, depending on the thrust range required. The engine is “still evolving and there are still some aspects that we can ‘customize’ depending on the airframers’ needs”, she explains.

Snecma has already spent $100 million on the core demonstrator programme - and on tests of the axial and centrifugal compressors - and all the data confirms that the engine will meet or exceed all its design targets. Finet says there is no need to test the engine’s low pressure sections as “we have such vast experience of these modules”.
Although the engine could still be configured as ‘all electric’ or ‘bleed air’, the latter is the baseline choice despite the trend towards non-pneumatic in commercial aviation – witness the much-delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Potential airframes for the Silvercrest are there: Brazilian company Embraer has concepts – revealed last year - that may well be suitable. And Snecma certainly likens itself to Embraer in the way that it too developed a strong commercial portfolio before entering business aviation.

With the Bombardier Learjet NXT and Cessna LCC ruled out because their power requirements are too low, thoughts have turned towards the larger Bombardier M127 concept. Much below 9,500lb the engine would not be optimized either in terms of weight or fuel burn.

According to Snecma’s own market survey there is a demand for 2,600 10K-powered aircraft from 2007 through 2017. The company is hopeful that with long-term growth continuing, especially in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, the predicted demand will materialize.

Source: Flight Daily News