thoughts on MTFE and regional jets

From:         Andrew Chuang <chuanga@iia.org>
Date:         29 Sep 94 00:15:38 
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After the demise of Project Blue (which teamed up Pratt & Whitney, GE,
SNECMA, and MTU to develop a 20,000 lb-thrust range engine for regional
jet applications), P&W and MTU have decided to proceed with its previous
development (RTF 180) and called the new engine the "MTFE"--Mid-Thrust
Family Engine.  GE/SNECMA is also studying two alternatives, the CFM56 Lite
or CFM88, for the NSE (New Small Engine, a not-so-innovative name which
must be based on Boeing's NSA, the New Small Airplane).  In recent reports
on the MTFE, it's clear that P&W's main intention was to develop a JT8D
replacement, which potentially can be competing with the low-end CFM56.
Therefore, it's not a big surprise that the partners of Project Blue could
not reach to a consensus on the engine thrust range.

The regional jet market seems to generate a lot of interests among aircraft
manufacturers, some of the potential projects include:

1. Avro's RJX--the project seems to be dormant after the collapse of
   collaboration with Taiwan Aerospace (TAC).  BAe/Avro and TAC have
   recently started talking again, it was said that if no agreement
   was signed by the year end, BAe would seek other partners.  (Personally,
   I think TAC is a joke, it's a company with a lot of money but nothing
   else.)

2. A recently-formed Sino-Korean consortium lead by Korea's Samsung
   Industries is actively pursuing to build a regional jet.  They appear
   to have the determination to "beat" the Japanese.

3. Boeing's NSA--supposedly an airplane that will share commonalities with
   its most popular B737.  Boeing is seeking Japanese, Chinese, and/or
   other Asian partners for the project.

4. Japan's YS-X--it is leaning towards cooperating with Boeing, but China
   is also high on their list.

5. Deutsch Aerospace (DASA) is the majority holder of Netherlands' Fokker;
   although, Fokker already have two regional jet entries (the F70 and
   F100), DASA intends to build an "advanced" regional jet, most likely
   under Fokker's name.

6. The MD95, the only well-defined aircraft and the only one with a
   specific powerplant, BMW-RR's BR715.  China, again, is a possible
   partner.

In one way or the other, Asian companies and/or governments are involved
in five of the six aforementioned airframe projects, while there are no
significant Asian involvements in any of the related engine projects, yet.
With at least six airframe projects and three engine entries (four if you
count R-R's Tay engine), who do you think the surviving players will be?
(I'll be shocked if the MD95 is not launched.)

-- 
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         |  H Andrew Chuang    chuanga@iia.org  |
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