Safran and General Electric are stepping up activities at their newly formed nacelle joint venture with the appointment of Steve Walters as president. The Cincinnati-based alliance between Safran subsidiary Aircelle and GE’s Middle River Aircraft Systems business was launched in December 2008. It will focus on developing, producing and supporting nacelles for future applications of CFM International engines for next-ime generation airliners.
Aircelle chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Cojean told AIN that the new company’s main effort will be with CFM International’s flagship CFM56-5 and -7 engines that may still have further new applications, as well as with possible new powerplants, including open-rotor concepts emerging from the LEAP-X technology development program.
Aerospace engineer Walters said the joint venture is based on “excellent synergies” between Middle River and Aircelle, which will be working on programs that will improve aircraft performance while also reducing weight and noise levels. “This is an exciting time for the joint venture as airlines are seeking more efficient and more environmentally friendly solutions for the next generation of airliners,” he said.
France-based Aircelle designed the thrust reverser for the CFM56-5A/B engine that powers the A320 family aircraft for which Goodrich provides the nacelle. It also builds the nacelle for the A318 PW6000 engine but its only presence on a Boeing aircraft is with the Rolls- Royce RB211 thrust reverser. It has ambitions to increase its involvement in Boeing programs.