CFM’s joint owners – GE and Snecma – are the first of the world’s engine makers to announce that they are to develop a "third generation" powerplant – codenamed Leap-X – to power the successors of today’s single-aisle Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families of airliners.
The two companies have also signed an agreement extending their 50:50 partnership – originally created in 1974, specifically to produce the CFM56 family of engines - until 2040.
CFM says its "Leap-X" will be available from 2016
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 entry-into-service 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.
The open-rotor design would use similar core technology to the Leap-X
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.