Engine manufacturer CFM International (Stand G23) plans to test 15 Leap engines this year as part of a development program leading to certification of the Leap-1A for the Airbus A320neo next year. Also part of the program, the Leap 1B and -1C versions are to power the upgraded Boeing 737 Max and the new Comac C919 narrowbodies, respectively. The engine’s designers promise a 15-percent fuel burn advantage over the current CFM56.
Snecma and GE Aviation are developing new materials to make future engines lighter and improve their efficiency. In the works are alloys using exotic metals such as niobium, and composites using organic, ceramic or metal matrices. The two companies will employ these technologies for the Leap-X engine they are developing under their CFM joint venture (Hall 4 Stand B13) and possibly for other projects.
Composites and other new and expensive materials play key roles in the engines that will power new single-aisle airliners, such as the Comac C919, Bombardier C Series and, possibly, Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 upgrades. Pratt & Whitney and CFM aim to make their future engines more efficient with material changes-some low profile, others better known-that all contribute to double-digit improvements in fuel consumption.