CFM LEAP-1B engine for Boeing 737 MAX completes design freeze.

by Devesh Agarwal

Image courtesy Wikipedia

CFM International announced that it has completed design freeze, i.e. freezing the design and engine configuration, for the LEAP-1B, the exclusive engine for the Boeing 737 MAX. LEAP is an acronym for “Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion”. The company expects the first full engine to test by mid 2014. CFM International, is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran) and General Electric.

Over the next six months, CFM will finalize and release detailed engine design drawings, leading in to parts manufacturing which will build-up towards end 2013. The current schedule calls for the LEAP-1B engine to undergo CFM flight testing in 2015 and engine certification in 2016, which is keeping in view the 2017 Entry Into Service (EIS) of the 737 MAX.

Unlike Airbus which offers its customers a choice of engines including CFM, Boeing has an exclusive relation with CFM, whose engines have been the sole powerplant for all 737 aircraft sold since 1981.

CFM has been conducting component and rig tests on LEAP hardware for more than five years; the program is now moving into an exhaustive engine ground test phase. The first full LEAP-1A egine, which is an option for the Airbus A320neo is currently being built and is on schedule to begin ground testing this fall. There are twelve LEAP-1B certification engine builds schedule over the next three years.

Overall, CFM will have a total of 28 certification engine builds and 30 flight test engines across the three LEAP engine models.

The LEAP engine will use advanced aerodynamic design techniques, lighter, more durable materials, and leading-edge environmental technologies to provide a 15% reduction in specific fuel consumption (SFC) compared to today’s CFM56 engines which power the current Boeing 737NG.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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