Since the announcement in December 2009 that the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) had selected CFM International's advanced new LEAP-X engine as the sole western powerplant for its new C919 single-aisle aircraft, the two companies have launched a joint definition phase for the new aircraft/engine combination that will continue throughout 2010.
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 in 2016.
LEAP-X is a totally new centerline engine formally announced in mid-2008, and the development program has been progressing steadily ever since. CFM will continue engine development work, including the second phase of testing for eCore 1, as well as running full-scale endurance tests on the Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) composite fan. This development work will culminate in the first full engine, provisionally called the LEAP-X1C, going to test in early 2013.
COMAC has opted for a complete Integrated Propulsion System (IPS) for the C919. CFM will provide the engine and, in partnership with Nexcelle, 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."
Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) is the Chinese commercial aircraft manufacturer established in May 2008 for more information on COMAC, please visit www.comac.cc.
Since the company was established in 1974, CFM has delivered more than 20,000 engines to date to more than 500 operators around the globe. There are more than 2,300 CFM56 engines in service or on order with Chinese airlines, representing more than 10% of the company's commercial fleet. In the last decade alone, CFM has received firm orders for more than 12,200 CFM56 engines. For more information on CFM International, visit us at www.cfmaeroengines.com.