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GE progresses with development of CF34 successor

GE Aviation has allocated "roughly two years" to technology development within its NG34 programme, ahead of the full engine development phase that it hopes will deliver a new powerplant in the 2015 timeframe.

Chuck Nugent, general manager of the CF34 engine programme, detailed the manufacturer's plans at a media briefing held on the sidelines of the ERA General Assembly in Interlaken, Switzerland.

The prospective NG34 engine would be expected to deliver a 10-15% reduction in operating costs, with 15-20% lower specific fuel consumption, a 50-60% margin to CAEP/6 NOx emission limits, a 15 EPNdB margin to ICAO Stage 4 noise limits, and 99.98% reliability.

Fuel burn improvements will be sought from propulsive and thermal efficiency, component efficiency and advanced engine systems. The engine will have a similar thrust range as today's CF34-8 engines.

"Full-scale" technology development is already underway, encompassing the generation of new versions of the "eCore" engine core and twin annular pre-swirl (TAPS) combustor deployed in the GEnx engine, which will power the Boeing 787 and 747-8.

The first version of the NG34 core underwent testing in July 2009. A second core will be developed by 2011.

The TAPS combustor will be "optimised in a smaller size for this thrust class", says Nugent.

Composite materials will be used to manufacture an "extra-tough" fan case, he adds. GE is also targeting advanced aerodynamic development in the fan and booster area, as well as the low-pressure turbine. New technologies will be developed toward a goal of integrating the engine and nacelle system to optimise for weight and fuel burn.

"We've launched about a half dozen different technology programmes that are designed to ensure that the technology is at the right level of capability before we launch the full-scale development programme," says Nugent.

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