Re: Engine makers: 3. GE / CFMI

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
Date:         11 Aug 94 02:18:16 
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>The CF6 got a head start with the Airbus because of GE's partnership
>with SNECMA and MTU(?).

Of the big three, GE actually got off to the slowest start with
Airbus.  The A300 proposal first appeared in early 1967 with either
Rolls-Royce RB.207 or Pratt & Whitney JT9D engines.  That summer,
the RB.207 was selected.

After Rolls-Royce dumped the 57,000 lb thrust RB.207 project in favor
of the smaller RB.211 for the L-1011, the A300 shrunk from 300 down to
250 seats, with a choice of RB.211, JT9D, or GE CF6-50 engines.  The
GE engine was finally selected as the launch engine, perhaps for the
reasons you mention, though all three engines were technically avail-
able.  The JT9D, and later the PW4000, did see service on the A300,
though the only Airbus product to fly with a Rolls-Royce engine has
been the A330.

One peculiar wrinkle in the story is that Airbus approached McDonnell
Douglas about buying the rights to the engine nacelle from the DC-10
for use on the A300.  (The airframe manufacturer provides the nacelle
for P&W and GE engines, though RR designs their own nacelles.)  Not
content to shoot themselves in one foot by building what arguably was
the wrong plane (the tri-jet DC-10 instead of a twin-jet much like the
A300), MD agree to sell the nacelle design to Airbus.

Finally, it's worth noting that the CF6 is a derivative of the TF39,
the first high-bypass ratio turbofan, which was built for the C5A
Galaxy.

>Although, SNECMA has a small interest in the CF6 program, the most important
>GE/SNECMA partnership is CFM International.  Initially, CFMI did not have
>much success in selling the CFM56 for reengineing the B707 and DC-8.

The CFM56 was also proposed for a derivative of the Dassault Mercure.
Apparently the CFM56 core borrows from some military engine designs,
and the U.S. Government interfered with the Mercure deal because of
this, not wanting military parts on a foreign aircraft or some such
nonsense.

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