Tuesday, December 22, 2009

China aims at Boeing 737 engine technology

Boeing Engine@peterpeng210.blogspot.com

Relying on having abundant financial resources and a big market, China successfully finds a breakpoint to solve the bottleneck on its research of turbofan engines for large airplanes. According to Xinhua news report, December 21, 2009, China Aviation Industry Corporation signed an agreement with CFM International to establish a CFM LEAP-X1C engine assembly line in China.

The engines from this line will be the only chosen foreign engines to power the C919 China's self -developed large passenger aircraft, which is the first upcoming Chinese-made large passenger aircraft manufactured by China Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd.

CFM International is the world's largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft engines. It is a 50-50 joint venture of Snecma, a subsidiary of SAFRAN Group of France, and General Electric Company of U.S.

CFM International’s CFM56 engines are widely used on Boeing 737 and A340. The CFM LEAP-X engine was officially launched in 2008. This engine is under modification for the next generation of aircraft products to succeed the CFM56-5B and CFM56-7, which are recently used for A340 and Boeing 737 respectively. The CFM LEAP-X is supposed to be with better fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions.

Analysts believe CFM International chose China as a partner is because China is able to meet the CFM’s requirements on a suitable test body for this modifying engine, a sure market before the engine is accepted in the world market, and financial and human resources on engine production.

China’s C919 passenger aircraft is planning to carry out its first flight in 2014 and put into formal use in 2016. As only chosen engines on the C919 aircraft, the CFM LEAP-X is guaranteed to have a broad market in China before it is accepted in the world.

What China shortens are not fund and human resources but technologies on engine design, manufacturing, and management of production. By co-operation with CFM, Chinese personnel will experience the details of the engine structure, equipment for assembly and test, and management of production. To get the know-how on the engines for A340 and Boeing 737, the analysts believe, China certainly thinks it is worth paying financially no matter how much it will be.