CFM International delivered the first LEAP-1C turbofan engine to Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. (Comac), in advance of its installation in Comac’s new C919 aircraft. The C919 will be a series of twin-engine, narrow-body aircraft that Comac will introduced by 2018, with a total 450 already ordered by Chinese airline and aircraft leasing agencies.
The LEAP is a series of high-bypass turbofan engine designs developed by CFM International, is a joint venture of GE Aviation and French jet engine manufacturer Snecma, a Safran subsidiary. Each partner will manufacture the LEAP engines in its own operations, and GE Aviation is expanding its Lafayette, Ind., engine plant to accommodate high demand for the new LEAP engines. GE also is building the engines at a plant in Durham, N.C.
The LEAP-1C is the third variant of CFM Internationals LEAP engine series, following the LEAP-1A, which is the designated power plant for the new Airbus A320neo family; and the LEAP-1B, which is targeted for the new Boeing 737 MAX series.
Comac selected the LEAP-1C to be the only jet engine produced by a non-Chinese manufacturer for the new, 150-passenger C919.
More than 30 LEAP engines of all three models are in testing now, or in final assembly and the LEAP program has logged a total of more than 4,730 certification ground and flight test hours and 7,900 cycles.
The engine delivered to Comac completed a successful flight test program late last year, on a modified 747 flying test bed at GE Aviation in Victorville, Calif. The flight-test program encompassed a comprehensive test schedule that gauged engine operability, stall margin, performance, emissions, and acoustics.
The testing program also validated the engine design’s advanced technologies, including a carbon-fiber composite fan; the twin-annular, pre-mixing swirler (TAPS) combustor; ceramic matrix composite shrouds in the high-pressure turbine; and titanium aluminide blades in the low-pressure turbine.
Allen Paxson, exec. vice president of CFM International, called the LEAP-1C “the culmination of more than six years of hard work between the CFM and Comac teams, and represents the launch of the next exciting phase of the C919 aircraft development. We are honored to be a part of this great program.”
“Delivery of this engine paves the way for the final assembly and rollout of the first C919 aircraft later this year,” stated Wu Guanghui, vice president of Comac.