Textron Aviation’s selection of the Safran Silvercrest turbofan to power the Cessna Citation Hemisphere is a significant boost for the French engine maker’s ambitions in the business aviation market. The announcement today follows confirmation that the engine will earn certification in the spring of 2018 under the revised development timetable for the Dassault Falcon 5X twinjet, now slated to enter service in the first half of 2020.
To win its place on the Hemisphere, Safran beat off competition from Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney Canada and General Electric. “This is a strong vote of confidence for the Silvercrest,” said Safran Aircraft Engines CEO Olivier Andries. “I believe we were selected because we designed the engine to be optimized for this thrust segment [9,500 to 12,000pounds].” The powerplants offered by the other bidders would have had to be down-rated in thrust, resulting in penalties in weight and specific fuel consumption.
The Silvercrest being developed for the Hemisphere will be designated the -2C. It will share the same architecture as the -2D for the Falcon 5X but with some features tailored to the new Citation, according to Silvercrest program general manager Michel Brioude. The Cessna team has visited Safran’s facility in San Antonio, Texas, where they have been flight-testing the engine for the 5X.
Since last year, the Safran engineering team has been quietly developing solutions to several technical problems that had prevented the Silvercrest from meeting its promised performance standards. The hardware changes now being implemented have focused on improving clearance and vibration controls, as well as reducing airflow leakage.
“The technical issues on the Silvercrest are now behind us,” Andries told AIN. “This reconfirms our approach to this market, and that we are still offering the best product in terms of weight and performance.”