Following a spate of orders for CFM56 and Leap-powered Airbus and Boeing aircraft, CFM International now predicts combined production of current and next-generation engines will soar to 1,800 per year by 2018.

The latest increase will equate to a new engine rolling off the combined U.S. and French assembly lines every five hours at parent companies General Electric and Snecma. Even before the Leap began racking up sales through 2011, CFM already was gearing up for year-on-year record engine production increases to keep pace with planned rate hikes by Airbus and Boeing, and expected to be supplying up to 1,600 CFM56-5/7s per year by 2014.

The rate increases on the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 will see engine deliveries grow from 1,260 this year to 1,400 in 2012, 1,500 in 2013 and upwards of 1,600 in 2014. Deliveries are on a steady ramp-up following record orders taken in 2011, including 1,500 CFM56s and commitments for more than 3,050 Leap engines. Since the start of 2012, the numbers have continued to climb with a further 326 new CFM56 sales and 206 firm Leap engines logged so far this year. CFM says overall Leap orders and commitments currently stand at over 3,400 engines.

Production of Leap engines will increase gradually from 2015-2016, with the newer engine expected to form the bulk of production by the 2018-2019 period, says a company spokeswoman. Although a daunting prospect, CFM is equipped to face the challenge having previously transitioned through simultaneous production of multiple engine models, she adds. In 1999, for example, all CFM56 family variants from the -2 and -3, to -5 and -7 were in production.

The company is therefore equally focused on setting up for Leap production as it is on technology development, says Dale Carlson, newly appointed CFM Leap technology strategy general manager. “We are not going to risk the franchise with failed execution,” says Carlson, who notes that over 40 years CFM has introduced 21 new engines and eight block upgrades into service “on time and on specification.”

The engine family is in development for entry into service in 2016 on the A320NEO and Comac C919, and in 2017 on the Boeing 737 MAX.