After announcing the launch of its Global Material Solutions (GMS) division in February, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has been busy making and testing parts for the CFM56-3 engine of its rivals General Electric and Snecma. Pratt & Whitney’s service division already overhauls and repairs CFM56 engines for airline customers and the company created GMS so that it could also offer lower-cost new parts to CFM56 operators.
CFM International CFM56
Engine manufacturers are enjoying the boom in civil aircraft sales as much as other suppliers, but this does not mean the battle for orders is any less tough. The pace set by CFM International last year, when the 50/50 General Electric/Snecma partnership sold a record 1,640 engines, seems likely to continue this year.
Safran (Hall 4 Stand B12), the offspring of last year’s somewhat surprising merger of French engine giant Snecma and communications group Sagem, claims to have found its feet quickly and to be having a boom year. Sales in 2005 showed increases for all business areas of the new group, except communications.
Recently appointed Pratt & Whitney president Steve Finger is in no doubt about his company’s position in the global marketplace. “The Eagle is everywhere,” he said. “We’re the only engine manufacturer with a complete portfolio spanning civil, military, business and rocket engines along with maintenance, repair and overhaul.” The Eagle refers to the defining symbol of the U.S.’s oldest turbine aircraft engines manufacturer.
Engine manufacturers are gearing up for development programs aimed at bringing new generations of 10,000-pound-thrust turbofans to business aviation. Silvercrest, the first of Snecma’s new family of such engines for midsize to large business jets and 40- to 60-seat regional airliners, makes its world debut here with its new name and newly revealed specs.
Snecma of Chengdu, China (SSAMC), is expanding its repair capability and has added 11 new technicians to its engine overhaul operation. The company estimates that China will purchase at least 2,000 new aircraft equipped with at least 4,000 new engines plus spares over the course of the next 20 years. “Many of these will be CFM56 engines on which SSAMC specializes,” a company spokesman said.
The French engine manufacturer Snecma plans to develop an all-new engine to power new business and regional jets, the company announced last month. The core engine demonstrator, called the SM-X, is expected to yield a powerplant that produces between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds of thrust, if Snecma goes ahead with the full development program. Ground testing of the core is set for the second half of next year.
Pratt & Whitney took the aviation world by surprise when it announced in February the launch of a new division to manufacture PMA replacement parts for CFM56-3 engines. The CFM56, one of the most popular turbofans, is made by CFM International, a joint venture between France’s Snecma and General Electric.
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