The two next-generation airliners emerging from Russia and China have taken a significant step forward in development with the selection of new Western engines to power them.

Russia's Irkut has selected Pratt & Whitney's PW1000G geared turbofan to be the platform from which an engine will be developed to power its all-new 150- to 210-seat MS-21 twinjet. Meanwhile, China's Comac has reportedly selected CFM International's Leap-X engine to power its similarly sized C919 twinjet.


Several Western engine makers were competing for the MS-21 and C919 selection, including P&W's International Aero Engines partner Rolls-Royce. The two IAE shareholders had been shortlisted by Irkut in August for the final MS-21 evaluation.

Irkut acts as a system integrator for the MS-21, which is being developed under the United Aircraft umbrella. It says Russia's United Engine (UEC) will participate in developing and producing the MS-21's powerplant, and will build the engines locally. P&W confirms that it will contract with Irkut and UEC for the MS-21 application.

The PW1000G has already been selected to power Bombardier's CSeries and Mitsubishi's MRJ regional jet, requiring an engine in the 20-24,000lb (89-107kN) and 13-17,000lb-thrust class, respectively. P&W says that the MS-21 agreement gives it "an opportunity to extend PW1000G engine models to the 30,000lb-thrust class".

This thrust band would make the engine suitable to power re-engined or new generation narrowbody offerings from Airbus and Boeing.

Irkut has also selected Rockwell Collins and its Russian partner Avionika to supply the MS-21's avionics. Aviapribor Holding, along with Rockwell Collins and Goodrich, has secured the mandate to develop an integrated control system for the MS-21. The MS-21 is due to fly in 2014 and enter service two years later.

Meanwhile, according to US consultancy Leeham, Comac's new narrowbody will be powered by CFM's Leap-X next generation turbofan. The engine maker is declines to comment, saying only: "We'll know when Comac makes its announcement, which they have not done."

If confirmed, the deal would mark the first firm application for the Leap-X, which could be certificated by 2016. The engine touts a 16% improvement in fuel burn over the current CFM56 engines and features an eight-stage compressor, the Twin Annular Pre-Swirl (TAPS II) combustor and single-stage high-pressure turbine.

Like the GTF, the engine is being evaluated by Airbus and Boeing for potential A320/737 re-engined derivatives, as well as all-new single-aisle replacements.

Source: Flight International