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Chinese aircraft company chooses LEAP-X1C engine from CFM

CFM International : 23 December, 2009  (Application Story)
Snecma and GE joint venture company to supply the LEAP-X1C engine to be the propulsion system for the C919 aircraft from COMAC
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) and CFM International have jointly announced that the advanced new LEAP-X1C engine has been selected as the sole western powerplant to launch the new C919 single-aisle aircraft scheduled to enter commercial service in 2016.

CFM, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (SAFRAN Group) and General Electric Company, is the world’s largest commercial aircraft engine manufacturer. In 2008, the two companies renewed the partnership to the year 2040.

COMAC has forecasted a global market for more than 2,000 C919 aircraft over the 20 years following entry into service.

COMAC has opted for a complete Integrated Propulsion System (IPS) for the C919. CFM will provide the engine, provisionally called the LEAP-X1C, and, in partnership with Nexcelle, will provide the nacelle and thrust reverser to deliver a complete IPS solution to COMAC. Nexcelle is a 50/50 joint venture between GE’s Middle River Aircraft Systems and SAFRAN Group’s Aircelle the two companies launched in 2008.

“We are very pleased to work with CFM on our new C919,” said Zhang Qingwei, chairman of COMAC. “The leading-edge technology incorporated in the engine, coupled with all of the benefits of a completely integrated propulsion system, will enable us to build a very competitive airplane for the global market.”

“The relationship between CFM and China goes back more than 25 years,” said Eric Bachelet, president and CEO of CFM International. “This agreement is the next logical step in what has been a tremendously successful collaboration between CFM, the Chinese aviation industry, and our Chinese airline customers. Today, we are embarking on an exciting new chapter with COMAC and we are honored to be a part of it. This is truly an historic occasion.”

LEAP-X, which was formally launched in 2008, is a totally new centerline engine and the development program has been progressing steadily since it was launched in mid-2008. The first core in the development program, eCore 1, successfully completed the first phase of testing earlier this year. The second phase of testing will begin in early 2010.

CFM has also been testing the revolutionary 3-D Woven Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) composite fan and case. Results to date have been very positive and inline with pre-test expectation and CFM will continue to refine and test various blade designs to identify the optimum. The LEAP-X fan will feature 18 blades, a 50 percent reduction versus the CFM56-5C and 25 percent fewer blades than the CFM56-7B.
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