With several engines due to make their first test runs or flights, and others ramping up production, manufacturers face a pivotal 2014 as the boom continues in the civil aircraft market.
The weight of expectancy falls heaviest on Pratt & Whitney and/ company CFM. An entire new generation of single-aisle airliners is depending on their and Leap engines delivering major fuel savings, and 2014 will mark key test milestones.
As of December,and held orders, options and commitments for almost 6,400 and 737 MAXs—a requirement for 12,800 engines before a single spare has been purchased. Some 4,152 NEOs and MAXs are on firm order, of which 880 have yet to be allocated an engine. CFM and Pratt have already collected orders for 6,540 /Bs and PW1100Gs, with a further 1,764 engines up for grabs.
With its exclusive position on the MAX, CFM has the lion's share of the market with over 4,900 firm orders for Leap-1A/Bs—almost 60% of the combined NEO/MAX orderbook. Including China's, for which CFM is the sole Western engine provider with the Leap-1C, total firm orders stand at 5,830. Pratt, with around 50% of the NEO market, is thought to have firm orders for 1,630 PW1100Gs. But including PW1000G geared-turbofan variants for the , E-Jet E2, MC-21 and , the order and option tally stands at more than 4,800 engines.
CFM is ramping up tests of the Airbus, Boeing and Comac engines, and by the end of 2014 expects to have 20 Leap-1A, -1B and -1C engines on test. These include initialand C919 engines for flight testing on GE's 747 testbeds, as well as the first -1B for the 737 MAX. CFM also continues to break production records for the existing family, in 2013 delivering the 8,500th engine for Airbus, 10,000th for Boeing and 25,000th overall. Production passed 1,500 engines a year in 2013, putting CFM on track for 1,700 a year by 2020, when both Leap-1s and CFM56s will be produced.
The first PW1100Gs are set for delivery to Airbus in the second quarter of 2014, with the Pratt-powered A320neo scheduled to fly in October. While its single-aisle revival strategy hinges on maintaining at least a 50% share of the A320 market, in place of the International Aero Engineswhich the PW1100G replaces, Pratt is busy developing the other PW1000G variants.
Leading the pack is the PW1500G, now flying on the CSeries. Flight-test delays point to early 2015 as a likely service-entry date from the initial CS100 variant, barely months ahead of the PW1100G-powered NEO in October 2015, while the delayed PW1200G-powered MRJ and PW1400G-equipped MC-21 are to follow in 2017. The newest PW1700G and PW1900G variants are to enter service on the E-Jet E2 series from 2018 onward.
Rolls-Royce is continuing its strategic withdrawal from the mid-thrust market, with Pratt in October assuming full leadership of the V2500 under the buy-out plan finalized in 2012. The U.K. manufacturer, with Pratt parent company United Technologies, also scrapped the plan to form a new mid-size engine joint venture, hatched in the wake of Rolls' decision to sell its share in IAE.
No reason was given, but industry watchers were hardly surprised. Despite Rolls saying it “remains fully committed to this important market segment,” the decision to withdraw from IAE and failed teaming means Rolls has effectively ceded the mid-thrust market to CFM and Pratt. Future opportunities will almost certainly have to wait for A320neo and 737 MAX replacements late next decade.
Rolls' withdrawal from the mid-thrust market follows its strategic decision to focus on the higher-value, smaller-volume widebody engine business. The company had hoped to broaden its share of the twin-aisle market, but with Boeing's decision in 2013 to go sole-source with General Electric on its, the high-thrust market is becoming polarized between Airbus-Rolls and Boeing-GE partnerships. Insiders say Boeing's 777X engine decision was influenced by several factors, including the financial support GE put behind its GE9X sole-source bid, concern over the development timeline for Rolls' proposed RB.3025, and worries the new engine could be offered later as the basis of a follow-on to power a stretched -1000 to compete with the 777X.
Rolls continues to harbor ambitions for its RB.3025 concept, as well as a follow-on study engine designated the RB.3039. Both are higher-bypass, higher-pressure-ratio designs which, at this stage, have a greater chance of powering an Airbus than a Boeing. The studies may result in a demonstrator by 2020, says Rolls, which acknowledges this could provide the basis for a next-generation Trent for service entry around 2025.
Nearer term, Rolls is studying how to break into the valuable Emirates Airbusfranchise now held exclusively by the GE-Pratt Engine Alliance with the GP7200. The airline wants a 10% fuel-burn improvement with at least some of the latest batch of 50 A380s ordered in November. Engine Alliance options range from software changes to an all-new engine. Rolls is evaluating options ranging from scaled “light” derivatives of the Trent XWB, through adaptation of the TEN in development for the -10, to designs based on the RB.3025.
Rolls' immediate focus is on supporting flight tests of the latest Trent 1000 Package C standard on the 787-9, kicking off development on the Trent 1000 TEN for the 787-10 and ramping up work on the Trent XWB-97 for the A350-1000. The TEN is to run in the first quarter of 2014 and incorporates design features from the Trent XWB powering the A350 and the European NEWAC technology demonstrator. With the Trent XWB-84-powered A350-900 on track for service entry in mid-2014, the focus is shifting to testing of the more-powerful variant. Thrust of the XWB-97 has increased more than 15% to 97,000 lb., but within the same overall nacelle size as on the A350-800/900.
GE has transitioned-1B production to the PIP II configuration and is banking on the improved standard to maintain its market lead on the 787. Out of 1,012 aircraft on firm order as of December 2013, 463 are powered by GE and 243 by Rolls. A further 306 are publicly undecided, of which around 160 are thought to be 787-8s. Including GEnx-2Bs for the , GE planned to produce more than 200 GEnx engines in 2013, rising to 300 in 2014. Both the GEnx-1B PIP II and upgraded -2B PIP were to enter service by the end of 2013, and on the 787-9 later in 2014.
Buoyed by results of the first tests in 2013 of the advanced compressor for the GE9X, GE says it is on track to meet the higher thrust demands of Boeing's 777X while maintaining the original fuel-burn reduction targets over theon the current 777. The company will complete a series of technology-maturation programs that will wrap up with a core-engine test in mid-2015 before the GE9X development program begins, with the first engine to test in 2016. The GE9X is expected to fly on GE's 747 testbed in 2017 and to be certificated at around 105,000-lb.-thrust in 2018. Boeing's plan calls for initial deliveries of the 777-9X in 2020 and the smaller 777-8X in 2022.
In the military engine market, reduced defense budgets and a trend favoring sustainment over procurement have become facts of life. Other than the, big programs that once provided the bread-and-butter business for engine makers are largely non-existent, and the shift is toward upgrades, support and emerging markets.
Yet amid the drawdowns, spending continues on advanced developments that will become pivotal to the future military propulsion business. GE and Pratt both expect to pass milestones in 2014 toward variable-cycle demonstrators under the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program. GE is on track for a preliminary design review in November 2014. AETD will conclude in 2016 following adaptive-fan and core-engine testing.
AETD is aimed at post-2020 upgrades to the F-35 and next-generation combat aircraft from 2030 onward. The concept aims to cut fuel burn for supersonic fighters about 25% by introducing a “third stream” of airflow, which can be used to reduce fuel burn or boost thrust. GE completed tests of a full variable-cycle engine in late 2013, while Pratt tested its adaptive fan concept.
Pratt, meanwhile, was forced to delay a planned ramp-up inproduction to 2016 from 2015 after a further slow-down in F-35 procurement. Compared to forecasts in 2009, Pratt will make 400 fewer F135s between 2013 and 2020. F100 deliveries continue at a low rate, but the company's dependence on the F135 is now almost total, as 2013 saw the last delivery for the .
GE may be moving closer to launching the F414 Enhanced Durability Engine (EDE) for the Boeing/F amid growing interest from the U.S. Navy. The shrouded fan, which increases airflow by 10% while reducing fuel consumption by 3%, was tested late in 2013, and the upgrade could begin in 2014. Sweden plans to procure 60 F414-powered Es and Switzerland 22. India plans to purchase 99 F414-INS6 engines to power the Tejas light fighter. F110 deliveries continue for Saudi Arabia's upgraded .
The military turboshaft market, while not recession-proof, appears poised for modest growth, with the U.S. Army set to launch its Improved Turbine Engine Program around mid-2014. GE and a/Pratt team have been testing new 3,000-shp turboshafts amid signs the Army remains committed to reengining its Boeing AH-64 Apaches and Black Hawks in the 2020s. The GE3000 and HPW3000 are being tested under the Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine program, which is aiming for a 35% higher power-to-weight ratio and 25% lower specific fuel consumption than the GE T700 engine now used. Another large turboshaft, GE's 7,500-shp GE38-1B, is to begin test flights in 2014 in the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps.
Israel is to be the first international operator of thetiltrotor, powered by Rolls-Royce's AE 1107C, with Japan, Qatar and the UAE among other potentials. Rolls, which recently delivered the 1,500th AE 2100 turboprop for 's , says a WP-3D “Hurricane Hunter” of the will be first to get the T56 Series 3.5 enhancement package. The upgraded engine, which showed nearly a 10% fuel-burn reduction in flights on a , will enter service in 2015.
In other sectors, Rolls continues to depend heavily on European collaborative programs for production volume. The 300th Eurojet, produced with MTU, Avio and ITP for the , was delivered in December. Rolls is teamed with MTU, ITP and Snecma on the turboprop, production of which is increasing as Airbus airliner deliveries ramp up.
Snecma is upgradingengines powering the and expects to bring the entire fleet up to -4E standard by 2020. As of December, was still awaiting a contract for 126 Rafales from India. And another contract still pending is the reengining of its Jaguar strike fleet with up to 270 Honeywell International Turbine Engine F125INs.
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