Singapore Air Show

Snecma develops new bizav engine

 - November 30, 2006, 11:24 AM

French engine maker Snecma is here at Asian Aerospace 2006 courting prospective partners and applications for its proposed new SM-X engine. The 8,500- to 10,500-pound thrust turbofan is being offered both for new large business jets and regional jetliners in the 40- to 60-seat class.

Snecma, which is part of French group Safran, is preparing to begin ground tests of the SM-X during the second half of next year. It claims that the new powerplant could be ready for service entry in 2010. The engine will be renamed if fully launched.

According to Snecma executive vice president of commercial engines Jean-Pierre Cojean, the SM-X is not a scaled-down derivative of either the prolific CFM56 family of engines or the new SaM 146 turbofan it is developing with Russia’s NPO Saturn for the Russian Regional Jet.

Nonetheless, the SM-X will build on some key technologies and development processes from these programs. For instance, Snecma will draw on its extensive low-pressure system experience with the CFM56, as well as its high-pressure expertise from its military engine programs and the DEM21 core demonstrator, which is at the heart of the development program for the 13,000- to 18,000-pound thrust SaM-146.

Cojean told Aviation International News that the SM-X will deliver between 5 and 15 percent lower specific fuel consumption than the generation of engines currently in service. “Snecma’s objectives for the SM-X environmental characteristics are consistent with the margins in noise and emissions that will be achieved by the future larger narrow-body engines,” he stated.

Unusually, the SM-X core will feature a single-stage centrifugal compressor coupled with a four-stage axial compressor. Snecma intends to use “drastically” fewer parts, resulting in a significant reduction in maintenance costs.

Cojean argued that there is “no state-of-the-art engine in this thrust segment in terms of architecture, fuel burn and costs of ownership.” He further claimed that “the SM-X will feature exceptional climb and cruise thrust–at least 25 percent better than current engines–as new business jets now demand this level of performance, particularly at maximum payload, hot days and for long range flights.”

The Snecma executive confirmed that the company has presented the concept to all aircraft makers involved in the regional transport and business aircraft markets targeted, and reported that the initial response has been “very positive.” In the business aviation arena, the engine is intended for airframes of 50,000 to 60,000 pounds maximum takeoff weight.