LONDON, England – CFM International today announced that it has completed design freeze for the advanced LEAP-1B engine, the exclusive powerplant for the Boeing 737 MAX, paving the way for the first full engine to test in mid-2014.
This milestone is effectively the point at which the engine configuration is set, or frozen. This now allows CFM to finalize and release detailed engine design drawings, which it will do over the next six months. Parts manufacturing for the LEAP-1B engine will then accelerate through year end, leading to build-up of the first engine in early 2014. The LEAP-1B is on schedule for CFM flight testing in 2015 and engine certification in 2016. The 737 MAX is scheduled to enter service in 2017.
Design freeze for the LEAP-1A / LEAP-1C variants was achieved in June 2012. The first full LEAP engine, the LEAP-1A, is currently being built and is on schedule to begin ground testing this fall.
"Achieving design freeze is a significant step in the program. All of our testing and design work leading to this moment demonstrates that we are on track to meet all of our program commitments," said Gareth Richards, LEAP program manager for CFM parent company GE Aviation.
Francois Bastin, LEAP program manager for Snecma added: "The extensive component tests we have completed so far, including both the core engine and full fan module testing currently underway, indicate that we are on track to deliver world-class fuel efficiency for the 737 MAX, along with the world-class reliability and durability that we established with the CFM56 engine family."
CFM has been conducting component and rig tests on LEAP hardware for more than five years; the program is now moving into an exhaustive engine ground test phase. There are twelve LEAP-1B certification engine builds schedule over the next three years.
Overall, CFM will have a total of 28 certification engine builds and 30 flight test engines across the three LEAP engine models.
The LEAP-1B engine is the result of an exhaustive six-year collaboration effort with Boeing. The entire turbomachinery and installation are customized to meet the unique requirements of the 737 MAX.
The advanced LEAP engine provides a 15 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption (SFC) compared to today’s CFM56 engines, along with an equivalent reduction in carbon emissions; nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions that are approximately 50 percent below the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP)/6 limits; and an engine noise signature well below anticipated regulatory limits. All while maintaining the benefits of CFM’s legendary reliability and low maintenance costs.
“Experience has taught us that the more testing we do before the first engine goes into service, that smoother that entry will be,” said Richards. “That’s why we are going to log more than 40,000 engine cycles – the equivalent of approximately 10 years of airline service – over the next three years to ensure that we deliver service-ready engines from day one.”
LEAP engines incorporate revolutionary technologies never before seen in the single-aisle aircraft segment. The new engine combines advanced aerodynamic design techniques, lighter, more durable materials, and leading-edge environmental technologies, making it a major breakthrough in engine technology.
The 737 MAX continues a 32-year relationship between CFM and Boeing; CFM engines have been the sole powerplant for all 737 aircraft sold since 1981. To date, there have been firm orders for a total of 1,185 LEAP-1B-powered 737 MAX airplanes.
The LEAP engine family is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and GE. CFM is the world’s largest commercial aircraft engine supplier, and the company has delivered nearly 25,000 engines to more than 530 operators around the globe. The CFM56 fleet has logged more than 625 million flight hours in the past 30 years as the most reliable engines in the air.