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GE TechX engine set to lead new generation of GE turbofans

GE Aviation says the turbofan that will result from its TechX development programme for large-cabin business jets will be among the first of the company's three new next-generation engine types to be certificated.

"Milestones and tests are already under way and we think we can have the engine certificated in 2015," says Shawn O'Day, marketing manager for GE's business and general aviation unit. No customer has yet signed for the powerplant, but O'Day says "very detailed design work is under way for all aspects of the engine".

GE is building a fuel and emissions-cutting common core technology that applies to the 10,000-20,000lb-thrust (44-89kN) range for TechX, a 14,000lb-thrust class CF34 successor, provisionally known as the NG34, that is being marketed to the 70- to 100-seat regional airline market and, through its CFM 50/50 joint venture with Snecma, a 33,000lb-class Leap X turbofan for the single-aisle airline market.

To date, the only version to have a launch customer is the Leap X1C, which has been selected by Comac for the 150-passenger C919. Comac says the aircraft will enter service in 2016.

GE builds the core for CFM products while Snecma builds the low-pressure sections and fan.

Testing of the first of three engineering cores was expected to be complete by mid-May, with a second more representative core set to start testing by mid-2011. The eCore2 will feature a 10-stage high pressure compressor and two-stage high-pressure turbine, elements common to the core for all three next-generation engines.

For the low-pressure turbine, O'Day says GE is looking at "unique technologies" to reduce the weight, particularly for blisks.

In a nod to maintenance providers, GE is also studying an option to mount the full authority digital engine controller on the nacelle rather than on the engine itself for easier access and lower temperature operations.

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