The U.S. Navy has set a new military record for engine time on wing with a CFM56-2A engine that has logged more than 10,000 flight hours without a single shop visit - and it's still going.
The CFM56-2A is produced by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran Group) of France and General Electric of the United States.
The new record was set by two CFM56-2A engines powering an E-6 aircraft in service with the Navy's TACAMO (Take Charge and Move Out) unit based at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In addition to the record-setting engines-which are not scheduled for removal-four additional engines powering another E-6 are less than 300 hours from reaching the 10,000-hour milestone, and should achieve it by mid-year.
The Navy celebrated this outstanding achievement today with a ceremony at Tinker Air Force Base. Officers noted that this event was the latest example of the teamwork that exists between the Navy, CFM, and Boeing. Another part of that team is the U.S. Air Force, which provides engine overhaul and maintenance. The Air Force has about 1,800 CFM56-2B engines in service powering KC-135R tanker aircraft. However, the CFM56 engine was recognized as the star performer, "arguably the most reliable engine in the history of aviation." To place the Navy's achievement into layman's terms, 10,000 hours on wing is comparable to driving your car at 300 miles per hour for three million miles.
CFM56 engines in commercial service average approximately 12,000 hours on wing prior to initial shop visit. In 1997, a CFM56-3 engine reached 30,300 hours on wing before its first removal. Taking this industry-leading reliability into the military sector, the Navy has ordered two CFM56-7-powered Next Generation Boeing 737 aircraft (designated the C-40) scheduled to enter service in 2000 to replace its aging C-9 fleet.
The 24,000-pound-thrust CFM56-2A entered service on E-6 aircraft in 1990, and the fleet has logged more than 489,000 hours and 163,000 cycles to date. The fleet has experienced only one engine removal since July 1996, and no in-flight shutdowns. The 16-aircraft unit is the military fleet leader in terms of sorties, logging about 1,200 hours annually.
For military applications, the CFM56-2 has provided outstanding benefits to its customers, including;