Major Aircraft Turbofan Engine Manufacturers

anil chopra, air power asia, aircraft engines, Engine Manufacturers

The turbofan engine market is dominated by a handful of, mostly western, players. These are General Electric, Rolls-Royce, Pratt and Whitney, in order of market share. General Electric and Safran of France have a joint venture, CFM International. Pratt & Whitney also have a joint venture, International Aero Engines with Japanese Aeroengine Corporation and MTU Aero Engines of Germany. Pratt & Whitney and General Electric have a joint venture, Engine Alliance selling a range of engines for aircraft such as the Airbus 380. There are others like Honeywell Aerospace and Russian and Chinese companies into aircraft engine manufacturing. Most engine manufacturers make engines for both civil and military aircraft. It is interesting to look at the product range and size of some of the top engine manufacturers.

General Electric Aviation

During 1889, Thomas Edison had business interests in many electricity-related companies. General Electric was formed through the 1892 merger of Edison General Electric Company of Schenectady, New York, and Thomson-Houston Electric Company of Lynn, Massachusetts, with the support of Drexel, Morgan & Co. Both plants continue to operate under the GE banner to this day. Today GE’s primary business divisions are Additive, Aviation, Capital, Digital, Healthcare, Power, Renewable Energy and Global Research. In 2018, it had 283,000 employees and revenues of US$ 121.6 billion. In 2019 GE was ranked 21 in fortune 500 global list.  GE Aviation currently has the largest share of the turbofan engine market. Some of their engine models include the CF6 (available on the Boeing 767, Boeing 747, Airbus A330, The GE90 is only on Boeing 777. The Genx was developed for the Boeing 747-8 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and proposed for the Airbus A350.

GE9X Engine. Image Source: aviationvoice.com

GE Aviation is under continued pressure to fix an issue with the GE9X’s high-pressure ­compressor, which Boeing says has further ­delayed the first 777X flight. GE insists it has fixed the issue and is preparing to conduct additional tests, while Boeing has shifted the 777X’s first flight into early 2020. GE9X, the huge turbofan broke a thrust record for commercial aircraft engines several years ago when its engineers measured 134,300lb (597kN)-thrust. The engine has accumulated some 400h of flight testing, GE says. Boeing 777X is expected to enter service in 2021. This apart, GE has a healthy backlog, with more than 700 GE9X engines on order with eight future 777X operators. GE continues to see sales success elsewhere, having sold some 2,500 GEnx turbofans, which power 787s and 747-8s. More than 1,700 of those power-plants are now flying. GE is also “aggressively researching hybrid-electric and electric propulsion” systems for aircraft.

GE F 414 Engine. Image Source: http://defenseblog-njs.blogspot.com/

On the military side, GE engines power many U.S. military aircraft, including the F110, powering 80% of the US Air Force’s F-16 fleet. The F404 and F414 engines power the US Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet. F404 is also on board India’s LCA ‘Tejas’ and F414 has been chosen for the LCA Mk 2. Rolls-Royce and General Electric were jointly developing the F136 engine to power the Joint Strike Fighter, however, the program has run into uncertainty.

Rolls Royce RB211 Engine. Image Source: Wikipedia

Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc. is a British multinational engineering company incorporated in February 2011 that owns Rolls-Royce, a business established in 1904 which today designs, manufactures and distributes power systems for aviation and other industries. Rolls-Royce is the world’s second-largest maker of aircraft engines, after General Electric, and has major businesses in the marine propulsion and energy sectors. Rolls-Royce was the world’s 16th largest defence contractor in 2018 by defence revenues. The company is most known for the RB211 (high-bypass turbofans) and Trent series, as well as their joint venture engines for the Airbus A320, McDonnell Douglas MD-90 family and the Boeing 717 (BR700). Rolls-Royce Trent 970s were the first engines to power the new Airbus A380.

Rolls-Royce rent XWB Engine. Image Source: researchgate.net

At Rolls-Royce, the big three programmes are the Trent 1000, 7000 and XWB, which are ­performing with varying degrees of success. Trent XWB powers the Airbus A350, and production is matching the requirements and the in-service performance. Available in three variants, the derated 78,900lb (351kN)-thrust XWB-75, the 84,200lb-thrust XWB-84 and the 97,000lb-thrust XWB-97, and the engine is operating very reliably with 27 airlines. With the A330neo-powering Trent 7000, the exclusive power-plant for the re-engined wide-body, prospects are good. With only 26 A330neos in service, operational feedback and reliability data is limited, however. Trent 1000 has had design issues which are reportedly unique to that product.

RB 199 Engine. Image Source: panavia.de

The AE 3007 (US military: F137) is a turbofan engine used on Boeing MQ-25 Stingray, Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk and Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned air vehicles (UAV). They are also used on Cessna Citation X, and Embraer ERJ family. Among their fighter engine was the RB-199 used on Panavia Tornado. The famous thrust vectoring Pegasus (originally a Bristol Siddeley design taken on by Rolls-Royce when they took over that company) is the primary power-plant of the Harrier “Jump Jet” and its derivatives.

Pratt & Whitney

Pratt & Whitney is third behind GE and Rolls-Royce in market share. It is now a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies. Pratt & Whitney’s aircraft engines are widely used in both civil and military aviation. Interestingly it has many joint ventures with the leading tow engine manufacturers. In addition to aircraft engines, Pratt & Whitney manufactures gas turbines for industrial, power generation and marine applications. The company had 38,737 employees in 2017 and supported more than 11,000 customers in 180 countries around the world. It had US$16.2 billion revenue. The company remained in the umbrella of its parent company after the merger of United Technologies and Raytheon.

Pratt and Whitney JT9D Engine. Image Source: airandspace.si.edu

Their engine, JT9D has the distinction of being chosen by Boeing to power the original Boeing 747 “Jumbo jet”. The PW4000 series is the successor to the JT9D, and powers some Airbus A310, Airbus A300, Boeing 747, Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Airbus A330 and MD-11 aircraft. The PW4000 is certified for 180-minute Extended Twin Operations (ETOPS) when used in twinjets. PW4000 has three variants with 94-inch (2.4 m) fan diameter, 100 inch (2.5 m) fan engine developed specifically for the Airbus A330 twinjet, and the 112-inch (2.8 m) designed to power Boeing 777.

PW4000 Engine. Image Source: conceptbunny.com

Nearly four years have passed since Pratt & Whitney’s first geared turbofan (GTF) entered service, the company continues working to reduce GTF manufacturing costs while boosting production. It is also working on the fuel-burn savings, noise improvements and emission improvements, and reliability improvements. P&W’s future engines will likely include more advanced materials such as ceramic matrix composites and the company is developing hybrid-electric engines. The GTF architecture is here to stay because it can be scaled to create new engines for narrow-bodies or wide-bodies, including Boeing’s proposed New Mid-market Airplane. The geared turbofan is going to be the core of any future product development that we do.

Pratt & Whitney F135 Engine. Image Source: taeaerospace.com

The Pratt & Whitney F119 and its derivative, the F135, power the United States Air Force’s F-22 Raptor and the international F-35 Lightning II, respectively. Rolls-Royce are responsible for the lift fan which provides the F-35B variants with a STOVL capability. The F100 engine was first used on the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Newer Eagles and Falcons also come with GE F110 as an option, and the two are in competition.

CFM LEAP (Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion) Engine. Image Source: aermech.com

CFM International

CFM International is a joint venture between GE Aircraft Engines and SNECMA of France. They have created the very successful CFM56 series, used on Boeing 737, Airbus A340, and Airbus A320 family of aircraft. The names of CFM International and the CFM56 product line are derived from the two parent companies’ commercial engine designations: GE’s CF6 and Snecma’s M56. CFM International, is powering ahead with production of its new Leap-series engines – which span the 23,000-35,000lb (102-155kN)-thrust range – as the transition away from the legacy CFM56 gathers pace. In 2017, CFM delivered 1,900 engines including 459 LEAPs (Leading Edge Aviation Propulsion), of which it plans to deliver 1,200 in 2018, 1,800 in 2019 and more than 2,000 in 2020. In 2019, CFM deliveries stood at 2,127, which included 1,736 Leaps and 391 CFM56s, and plans to produce 1,400 engines in 2020. CFM56 have a 60% share of the A320neo market.

Engine Allaince GP7277 Engine. Image Source: conceptbunny.com

Engine Alliance

Engine Alliance is a 50/50 joint venture between GE and Pratt & Whitney, based at East Hartford, Connecticut, formed in August 1996 to develop, manufacture, sell, and support a family of modern technology aircraft engines for new high-capacity, long-range aircraft. The main application for such an engine, the GP7200, was originally the Boeing 747-500/600X projects, before these were cancelled owing to lack of demand from airlines. Instead, the GP7000 has been re-optimised for use on the Airbus A380 superjumbo. In that market it is competing with the Rolls-Royce Trent 900, the launch engine for the aircraft. The two variants are the GP7270 and the GP7277.

International Aero Engines V 2500 Work Share. Image Source: slideplayer.com

International Aero Engines

International Aero Engines is a Zurich registered joint-venture between Pratt & Whitney, MTU Aero Engines, and Japanese Aero Engine Corporation.  The collaboration produced the V2500, the second most successful commercial jet engine program in production today in terms of volume, and the third most successful commercial jet engine program in aviation history. The V2500 is a two-shaft high-bypass turbofan engine which powers the Airbus A320 family, the McDonnell Douglas MD-90, and the Embraer KC-390. The engine’s name is a combination of the Roman numeral V, symbolizing the five original members of the International Aero Engines consortium, which was formed in 1983 to produce the V2500 engine. The 2500 represents the 25,000 lbf (111 kN) produced by the original engine model, the V2500-A1 variant. The FAA type certification for the V2500 was granted in 1988. Over 7,600 had been built by June 2018.

Williams International

Williams International is a manufacturer of small gas turbine engines based in Walled Lake, Michigan, United States. It produces jet engines for cruise missiles and small jet-powered aircraft. They have been producing engines since the 1970s and the range produces between 1000 and 3600 pounds of thrust. The engines are used as original equipment on the Cessna Citation Jet CJ1 to CJ4, Cessna Mustang, Beechcraft 400XPR and Premier 1A and there are several development programs with other manufacturers. The range is also very popular with the re-engine market being used by Sierra Jet and Nextant to breathe new life into aging platforms.

Honeywell F124 Engine. Image Source: formulaf1results.blogspot.com

Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell Aerospace is one of the largest manufacturer of aircraft engines and avionics and a producer of auxiliary power units (APU) and some other aviation products. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, it is a division of the Honeywell International conglomerate. Honeywell/ITEC F124 series is used in military jets, such as the Aero L-159 Alca and Alenia Aermachhi M-346. The Honeywell HTF7000 series is used in the Bombardier Challenger 300 and the Gulfstream G280. The ALF502 and LF507 turbofans are produced by a partnership between Honeywell and China’s state-owned Industrial Development Corporation. The partnership is called the International Turbine Engine Co.

Aviadvigatel

Aviadvigatel is a Russian manufacturer of aircraft engines that succeeded the Soviet Soloviev Design Bureau. The company currently offers several versions of the Aviadvigatel PS-90 engine powers Ilyushin Il-96-300/400/400T, Tupolev Tu-214 series, and the Ilyushin Il-76-MD-90. The company is also developing the new Aviadvigatel PD-14 engine for the new Russian MS-21 airliner.

Aviadvigatel PD-14 engine. Image Source: Wikipedia

Ivchenko-Progress

Ivchenko-Progress is the Ukrainian aircraft engine company that succeeded the Soviet Ivchenko Design Bureau. Some of their engine models include Progress D-436 fitted on the Antonov An-72/74, Yakovlev Yak-42, Beriev Be-200, Antonov An-148, and Tupolev Tu-334. The Progress D-18T powers two of the world’s largest airplanes, Antonov An-124 and Antonov An-225.

Progress D-18T that powers the An 225. Image Source: Wikipedia

Russian Engines

NPO Saturn is a Russian aircraft engine manufacturer, formed from the mergers of Rybinsk and Lyulka-Saturn. Saturn’s engines include Lyulka AL-31, Lyulka, NPO Saturn AL-55 and power many former eastern Bloc aircraft, such as the Tupolev Tu-154. Saturn holds a 50% stake in the PowerJet joint venture with Snecma.

Saturn AL-41F. Image Source: Wikipedia

NPO Saturn engines power many Russian fighters. The latest AL-41F is a designation for two different Russian military turbofan engine variants. The NPO Saturn AL-41F is a Russian variable-bypass ratio turbofan engine, designed for supercruise flight for the MFI (Mnogofunktsionalni Frontovoy Istrebitel, “Multifunctional Frontline Fighter”) program, which resulted in the Mikoyan Project 1.44. It is considered by Jane’s as the Russian counterpart to the General Electric YF120 engine which lost to the more conventional fixed-bypass YF-119 in the Advanced Tactical Fighter engine program. Since the cancellation of the MFI program, the AL-41F1S and AL-41F1 designation was assigned to heavily upgraded AL-31F variants that powers the Sukhoi Su-35S and initial serial production Sukhoi Su-57 stealth aircraft.

Russia’s most significant civil aircraft engine program centres on the Aviadvigatel PD-14, which is set to be fitted for the first time to the Irkut MC-21 twinjet. Three flight-test examples of the MC-21-300 have been ­produced while a fourth has been assembled, says Irkut, and is now undergoing systems ­fitting. All four are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400Gs. Irkut is intending to offer the PD-14 as an option for the aircraft. It disclosed that it would modify the first serial-production MC-21 for flight tests with the ­PD-14. The power-plant obtained Russian ­certification from regulator Rosaviatsia in mid-October 2018, after airborne tests on an Ilyushin Il-76, and efforts are under way to ­secure validation from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. Named for its 30,800lb (137kN)-thrust ­capability, the PD-14 features a three-stage low-pressure compressor and an eight-stage high-pressure compressor, linked to a two-stage high-pressure turbine and six-stage low-pressure turbine. Mock-ups of the power-plant shown during the MAKS Moscow air show featured composite nacelle ­assemblies, hollow titanium blades and other technologies. No first flight date has been fixed for the PD-14-powered MC-21. But domestic engine production for the type – as well as ­production of the aircraft itself – has become an important issue in the wake of US materials sanctions. The PD-14 is intended to be part of a family that would extend to the high-thrust PD-35, potentially for the CRAIC CR929, and projects including a possible Il-96 modernisation.

Proposed lower-thrust versions include the PD-10, aimed at powering a “Russified” version of the Sukhoi Superjet 100, which is currently equipped exclusively with the Franco-Russian PowerJet SaM146. The 15-year-old joint venture recently reached 400 engine deliveries for the Superjet program since the first in August 2010. Total operating time for the power-plant ­exceeds 1.3 million hours, says the manufacturer, with one “flagship” engine reaching over 9,600h.

SaM146, the sole power-plant for the Sukhoi Superjet-100. Image Source: http://superjet.wikidot.com/

PowerJet

PowerJet is a 50–50 joint venture between Snecma (Safran) and NPO Saturn, created in July 2004. The company manufactures SaM146, the sole power-plant for the Sukhoi Superjet-100.

Klimov

Klimov was formed in the early 1930s to produce and improve upon the liquid-cooled Hispano-Suiza 12Y V-12 piston engine for which the USSR had acquired a license. Currently, Klimov is the manufacturer of the Klimov RD-33 turbofan engines.

Klimov RD-33 turbofan engines. Image Source: Wikipedia

EuroJet

EuroJet Turbo GmbH is a multi-national consortium, the partner companies of which are Rolls Royce of UK, Avio of Italy, IP of Spain, and MTU Aero Engines of Germany. The company was formed in 1986 to manage the development, production, support, maintenance, support and sales of the EJ200 turbofan engine for the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Chinese turbofans

Three Chinese corporations build turbofan engines. Some of these are licensed or reverse engineered versions of European and Russian turbofans, and the other are indigenous models. Shenyang Aircraft Corporation manufactures WS-10, Xi’an Aero-Engine Corporation manufactures WS-15, and Guizhou Aircraft Industry Corporation manufactures WS-13 turbofan.

Chinese WS-15 Engine. Image Source: globalsecurity.org

Chinese Comac’s C919 still continues test flights and looks poised to enter service with Chinese carriers – minus the Chinese engines, for the time being. The prototype of the CJ-1000AX, the alternative power-plant manufactured by Chinese engine maker AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine (ACAE), was first publicised in December 2017, after 18 months of assembly. ACAE had signed a deal with Comac a year earlier to supply engines to the narrow-body programme. The CJ-1000AX was touted as the “home-made engine” by the state-owned Global Times newspaper that would “replace imported foreign engines in future”. The C919 will initially be powered by CFM International Leap-1C engines. CJ-1000AX hit a milestone in its development when it achieved power-on. The high-bypass-ratio turbofan engine’s core reached a maximum speed of 6,600rpm, ­according to Chinese officials. FlightGlobal has previously reported that China plans to build 24 more CJ-1000 prototype engines to support an airworthiness campaign, with entry into service targeted after 2021. Global Times painted a bright future for the turbofan: “The CJ-1000 is designed for the C919, but is expected to power the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 or a similar newly built aircraft in the world market by 2025.”

Chinese AEF3500 Engine. Image Source: zzwave.com/

Meanwhile, the AEF3500, earlier called the CJ-2000, was first unveiled at the 2018 Airshow China in Zhuhai. The turbofan was pitched as a Chinese engine alternative for the Sino-Russian CRAIC CR929 wide-body program. Little is known about the status of the AEF3500, but media reports suggest it could be put into service on the CR929 by around 2030. Similarly to the C919, the CR929 could enter service in 2025 powered by western engines, before a Chinese-made option is offered a few years later. It could, however, face competition from Russia in the form of Aviadvigatel’s PD-35-1. United Engine and Aviadvigatel were picked by Moscow to develop the demonstrator power-plant. While AECC continues with work on the two engine types, the aircraft they were supposed to power are moving on with development. It remains to be seen if China can strike a double win with domestically ­manufactured engines on a ­home-grown aircraft.

Japanese turbofans

Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries is the Japan aircraft engine company. The company manufactures F3 for Kawasaki T-4, XF5-1 for ATD-X, and F7 for Kawasaki P-1.

North Korean turbofans

Kumsong-3 is North Korean domestic variant/clone of Kh-35 likely based on Kh-35U due to range. Kh-35U has a turbofan engine.

India’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE)

GTRE is a Government of India establishment under Defence Research and development Organisation (DRDO). It produced the GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri turbofan intended to power HAL LCA Tejas, and the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

GTRE GTX-35VS Kaveri turbofan. Image Source: Wikipedia

Dilemma for Major Civil Engine Manufacturers

The power-plant makers face conflicting demands for performance, reliability and huge production rates. The stark reality for the airframe manufacturers is that, for all the new materials and ­electronic wizardry they pack into their next airliner programme, it is the moving parts hanging off each wing that always deliver the big step in efficiency – and therefore ­performance. So when the airlines exert their pressure on the likes of Airbus and Boeing to deliver more range with lower operating costs and a competitive price tag, it is the likes of GE, Pratt & Whitney and R-R that shoulder the major burden of delivering that performance. And they are often trying to achieve this at eye-watering production rates that were unheard of until recent times. CFM International chief executive Gael Meheust points out that the engine maker is producing “40-45” Leap engines a week. P&W marketing director Paul Finklestein says the ramp-up on the geared turbofan (GTF) has been “five times as fast” as its previous single-aisle power-plant, the V2500. But the consequences of these high rates are double-edged. As the volumes of in-service engines balloon quickly, the risk of major disruption when a problem is identified can be much larger. That is a dilemma facing all the stakeholders – as many have discovered to their cost in recent years.

Lower 737 Max Production Rate

Engine propulsion specialists had been preparing to support production of 57 aircraft per month when flights with the 737 Max were suspended. Boeing’s 737 Max is exclusively powered by the Leap-1B. Although the ­re-engined ­single-aisle has been grounded, production has continued, albeit at a lower rate of 42 aircraft per month, ­requiring the weekly delivery of around 20 engines. Aircraft production resumed in May 2020 at a low rate. On November 18, 2020, the FAA cleared the MAX to return to service once necessary design modifications have been made. The day the ­airplane is back in the air, Boeing will be ­pushing back for production ­ramp-up.” However, the gentler ramp-up has enabled CFM to get on top of supply-chain issues resolved. At the point the type was grounded, 54 airlines were flying 389 737 Max jets, which had amassed 1.7 million flight hours.

Leap-1B Engine. Image Source: thepointsguy.com

To Summarise

There are very few major aircraft engine manufacturers who dominate the industry. Aircraft engine is a complex machine that is expected to operate at very high altitudes and at very high speeds. Its components have to with stand high rotation speeds and very high temperatures. With many single and twin engine aircraft, the engine reliabilities have to be very high. The engines have to be very fuel efficient for better range and endurance and to give greater distance per passenger for fuel expended. High thrust-by-engine weight is a very important engine criteria.

For airliners and cargo aircraft, the in-service fleet in 2016 was 60,000 engines and should grow to 103,000 in 2035 with 86,500 deliveries according to Flight Global. A majority will be medium-thrust engines for narrow-body aircraft with 54,000 deliveries, for a fleet growing from 28,500 to 61,000. High-thrust engines for wide-body aircraft, worth 40–45% of the market by value, will grow from 12,700 engines to over 21,000 with 18,500 deliveries. The regional jet engines below 20,000 lb. (89 kN) fleet will grow from 7,500 to 9,000 and the fleet of turboprops for airliners will increase from 9,400 to 10,200. The manufacturer’s market share should be led by CFM with 44% followed by Pratt & Whitney with 29% and then Rolls-Royce and General Electric with 10% each.

Despite years of investment in R&D, China continues to struggle to have an engine of its own. India’s fledgling attempt at the LCA Kaveri engine has yet to succeed. As can be seen many major manufacturers have formed joint ventures to access both technology and markets. That perhaps is the best route to follow for India too. In the meantime it would be a good idea to get into the MRO market, by setting up maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facilities for existing major engine manufacturers.    

Published by Anil Chopra

I am the founder of Air Power Asia and a retired Air Marshal from the Indian Air Force.

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