The sun shone on the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow and exhibiting airliner manufacturers and engine suppliers certainly took every opportunity to make hay while the sun was shining, logging orders totaling almost $168 billion (according to AIN estimates).
The Munich factory of Europrop International (EPI) is ramping up production of its 11,000-shp TP400 turboprop engine to an annual 96 units to support Airbus A400M military transport deliveries in the coming years.
At the same, EPI is carefully following the recent entry-into-service of the first three aircraft, without having any major issues to report. For the joint-venture company’s four partners–Rolls-Royce, Snecma, ITP and MTU–this phase is thus looking much quieter than during the A400M’s troubled development.
Snecma recently started flight-testing its Silvercrest turbofan on a modified Gulfstream II, a Snecma senior executive confirmed last week. AIN understands that the trials are taking place from Sierra Industries’ base in San Antonio, Texas. The maiden flight had been postponed several times but the delay is not expected to have any effect on the engine’s certification, planned for next year. The Silvercrest will power the Dassault Falcon 5X and Cessna Citation Longitude.
Driven by the ambition to become world’s third largest turboshaft engine manufacturer after General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, France’s Turbomeca is pressing to establish a Russian partnership to develop and coproduce a new 3,000-shp engine based on the existing RTM322 powerplant and using the new Tech3000 core.
As preparations continue for running a full open-rotor engine demonstrator in 2016 under Europe’s Clean Sky research effort, French engine maker Snecma (Hall 4 Stand B12) sees the program’s participants reaching a consensus as whether or not to proceed in the 2017-to-2019 time frame. Clean Sky, which also involves Airbus, Rolls-Royce and French research center Onera, has provided a relatively unexpected discussion platform, thus facilitating a general agreement.
By the end of the year, CFM (OE 22) plans to have put together and tested around 20 Leap-1A/B/C turbofans, in preparation for their first flights next year and in 2016 on their respective application airframes. The Franco-American engine manufacturer is also gearing up for a swift production ramp-up, planned to reach an annual 1,700 engines by the end of the decade. The Leap will power the Airbus A320neo (Leap-1A), the Boeing 737 Max (Leap-1B) and Comac C919 (Leap-1C) narrowbodies.
The plan announced last year by The Aviation Alliance to remanufacture Cessna 421Cs and Gulfstream IIIs is moving forward, according to company founder and managing director Geoff Miller, despite setbacks that have caused some delays. The California-based company is currently focusing on the Excalibur 421 turboprop conversion and hopes to have one completed in time for this year’s NBAA show in Orlando in October.
CFM International has begun ground testing of the first Leap-1B engine developed to power Boeing’s new 737 Max family of narrowbody airliners. The joint venture between Snecma and GE announced today that ground tests began three days ahead of schedule on June 13 and that the 23,000- to 28,000-pound-thrust turbofan already has achieved full takeoff thrust.
Turbomeca is negotiating with Russia’s United Engine Corp (Russian acronym ODK) to co-develop a new 3,000-shp engine based on the RTM322, but using the new Tech3000 core. The Safran subsidiary has already established a strong presence in Russia, with 200 engines in service and new ones selected to power the Ka-62 and Ka-226 helicopters.
Dassault’s Falcon 5X program is progressing on time for a maiden flight in the first half of 2015. Late in April, AIN was invited to see the first wing at Dassault’s Bordeaux Martignas factory and the first complete fuselage at the manufacturer’s Biarritz production facility. The aircraft will complete assembly and begin ground tests this summer.
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