Boeing Evaluates CFM's Engines for the New Midmarket Airplane (NMA)

Posted on April 17, 2018 Henry Fayol Aviation

An engine produced by CFM International for Boeing’s new Mid-Market Airplane (NMA) could be the growth version of the Leap series turbofan. This would imply a balance between a “derivative and a clean-sheet design,” according to David Joyce, GE Aviation chief executive. Joyce also mentions that the engine will be “bigger” and an advancement of the Leap technology by half a generation.

CFM International was founded in 1974 as a partnership between GE Aviation and Safran Aviation. The joint venture was created to produce the single-motor CFM56. GE supplied the hot section while Safran supplied low-pressure modules. The business partners furthered their relationship ten years ago to manufacture the dual-roto Leap engine, including all propulsion applications between twenty-thousand to fifty-thousand trust per engine. The engine that Boeing hopes will power the new NMA is speculated to fall within this thrust range. Joyce states that the engine will most likely be made by CFM International.

Joyce continuously maintains CFM’s claim that a new version of the Leap engine for Boeing’s NMA will not need a fan drive gear system to stay competitive on the market. Pratt and Whitney and Rolls-Royce, both rival companies, have introduced engines for the NMA that incorporates a reduction gear in the space separating the fan and the low-pressure turbine. Some airline customers have voiced their opinion of Boeing offering the NMA with two engine choices.

GE’s Aviation chief executive notes that a dual-engine program needs a big enough market that will neutralize expenses. Joyce further explains that GE needs to sharpen the company to match the size of the market before committing to a program offering two engine options. Although GE is open to two engine options, they are rejecting any ideas of a choice of three.

As Boeing continuously assess options for the new Mid-Market engine, CFM International’s focus is meeting its commitments on Airbus and Boeing for the A32neo and 737 Max families. Unfortunately, the delivery of engines is behind by six weeks for both Airbus and Boeing, but CFM has the goal of catching up by the third quarter.

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