In a special ceremony here on the opening day of the 2011 Paris Air Show, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), its subsidiary, Shanghai Aircraft Manufacture Company, and CFM International signed the Master Contract for the C919 / LEAP Integrated Propulsion System (IPS).
LEAP is a product of CFM, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE.
The definitive agreement stipulates that CFM International (CFM) will be the sole overseas supplier for an integrated propulsion system (engine, nacelle, thrust reverser) and that the LEAP-X1C engine will be the sole Western powerplant for the new 150-passenger short-to-medium range airplane on schedule to enter service in 2016.
COMAC has forecasted a global market for more than 2,000 C919 aircraft over the 20 years following entry into service. This is the first master contract for airborne systems that COMAC has signed for its ongoing C919 Program.
As part of the IPS for the C919, CFM will provide the LEAP-X1C engine 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 that the two companies launched in 2008.
"This is truly an historic occasion for us all as we formally launch a new era in our history," said Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM International. "China has been a very important region to us for more than 25 years, and more than 10 percent of the in-service CFM56 commercial fleet operates there. It is exciting to be a part of this program and to see this great relationship move to the next level."
The LEAP engine, which was formally launched in 2008, is a totally new centerline engine and the development and testing program has been progressing steadily. The LEAP is on track for the first full engine to begin testing in 2013.