By Bjorn Fehrm
June 23, 2015, © Leeham Co. CFM International went through 1,000 iterations before settling on the final design for the LEAP engines that will power the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737 MAX and the COMAC C919.
In an interview with us at the Paris Air Show, CFM LEAP program manager Gareth Richards explained the macro process of the development of LEAP, CFM’s sequel to CFM56. This will be the largest turbofan engine program in the history of civil aviation and the follow on to the world’s most-sold turbofan, the CFM56.
Richards focused on how an engine like LEAP gets designed and what the trades are that a single aisle, short haul engine has compared to long haul engines.
LEAP is sharing the A320neo platform with Pratt & Whitney’s GTF but is sole engine on the 737 MAX and the C919. This will lead to engine production rates five years into the program of 1800 engines which is higher than the present rate of CFM56 deliveries.
Dependant on rate increases by Airbus and Boeing, this can increase beyond 2,000 engines per year after the initial ramp. It would make LEAP the largest civil turbofan program whichever way one counts: engines, installed thrust or revenue.