To maintain its market leadership into the 21st century, CFM International has launched Project TECH56, a three-year advanced technology acquisition program to identify, determine the feasibility, and validate engine technology for future market requirements.
CFM International is a 50/50 joint company of Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
"We are the market leader, and we will continue to provide the value our customers have come to expect from an industry-leading company," said Gerard Laviec, president and CEO of CFM. "Right now, the CFM56-5B/P and -7 are the most advanced, reliable engines in the air and the best engines for today's single-aisle aircraft requirements. Project TECH56 takes that technology to the next level. The market is changing, and CFM is developing the technology that will meet those requirements."
The technology being developed represents a significant advancement in the state-of-the art, and is expected to have many applications, including retrofit into existing product lines, incorporation into a derivative engine, or as the basis for a new CFM engine. The key drivers are simplified designs and better efficiency focused on lower overall cost of ownership, in addition to reducing environment impact.
One area under development is an improved fan/booster with a swept wide chord fan blade. The design is expected to provide dramatically improved aerodynamic efficiency with less weight.
In the compressor, CFM is increasing the stage loading for better efficiency with fewer stages. The simplified design will require fewer airfoils and rotors to help lower maintenance costs.
The Twin-Annular, Pre-Swirl (TAPS) combustor is the next step forward in emissions reduction. Again, the combustor is a much simpler, more durable design that will maintain the NOx (oxides of nitrogen) emissions CFM has achieved with its double annular combustor, while significantly lowering carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbon emissions.
CFM is maintaining the single-stage high pressure turbine of the current CFM56 product line, but is developing this technology on a dual spool rig to optimize the interaction and efficiency between the high and low pressure turbines.
All of the technologies under study will be validated by the end of 2000. CFM is focusing its attention on meeting the needs of the commercial marketplace in the next five to 10 years. CFM believes that future single-aisle aircraft will require: