French powerplant manufacturer Snecma said it will begin testing its Silvercrest engine next month. The Safran subsidiary’s entry into the 10,000-pound-thrust turbine category was snubbed earlier this year by Dassault, which instead tapped rival Rolls-Royce to power its new super-midsize jet. Snecma, which specializes in engines for airliners, intends to bring the reliability of its popular CFM series to the business jet market.
Pratt & Whitney Canada and the French-Russian Snecma-NPO Saturn joint venture are knocking at the door of the market for regional-jet turbofan engines. The geared-fan PW800 and the more conventional SM146 are not yet fully launched programs, but development is well under way.
The Sukhoi-led Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) program awaits approval to take off in July this year, but much depends on Boeing, as the U.S. aerospace giant contemplates its role in the project, so far restricted to sharing expertise in marketing and aircraft design with its Russian partners. Boeing plans to make a decision this summer.
Dassault is inching closer to the launch of its new super-midsize business jet, the latest in its Falcon line. Charles Edelstenne, Dassault chairman and CEO, confirmed in Paris last month that the company would unveil development details of the super-midsize next year. Dassault has defined most of the characteristics of the eight- to 10-seat, long-range aircraft, and selection of the main partners is under way.
Dassault Aviation is progressing with its plans for a super midsize Falcon scheduled for an official launch at the end of the year. The French manufacturer has selected a 10,000-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce engine for the airplane, which is projected to enter service in 2013. The cooperation between Dassault and Rolls-Royce is their first in business aviation.
Jean-Pierre Cojean, Snecma executive vice president of commercial engines and head of the Silvercrest engine program, said the engine-maker was disappointed, but not devastated, at not having clinched the contract to supply the engine for Dassault’s new Falcon super-midsize business jet to be launched in the next few months.
Despite having lost out to Rolls-Royce in the competition to power Dassault’s still-under-wraps super-midsize Falcon, Snecma is moving ahead with development its Silvercrest engine for business jets. The French manufacturer (Booth No. 824) is here exhibiting a full-size mockup of the 10,000-pound-thrust-class turbofan.
Rolls-Royce earlier this year was the surprise winner in the competition to power a new super-midsize business twinjet from Dassault with engines producing 10,000 pounds of thrust each. The competition launched a new engine family, referred to internally as RB282, after Rolls-Royce beat out competing designs from Snecma, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada and General Electric.
Snecma plans to unveil a mock-up of its 9,500- to 12,000-pound-thrust Silvercrest engine, as well as divulge more details about the project, at the NBAA Convention in Atlanta next week. The French engine manufacturer also confirmed that it will run a Silvercrest core engine in the fourth quarter.
For many years, the one market segment that General Electric’s turbine engine-manufacturing business didn’t serve was aircraft that use smaller turboprop engines. But that is changing; GE announced yesterday that it is buying Czech engine manufacturer Walter Engines. Based in Prague, Walter has manufactured more than 37,000 aircraft engines since 1923.