Airbus and CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, are collaborating to flight test CFM’s cutting-edge open fan engine architecture.
The Flight Test Demonstrator aims to mature and accelerate the development of advanced propulsion technologies, as part of CFM’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) demonstration programme, on board an Airbus A380. The flight test campaign will be performed in the second half of this decade from the Airbus Flight Test facility in Toulouse, France. Ahead of the A380 test flights, CFM will perform engine ground tests, along with flight test validation at GE Aviation’s Flight Test Operations centre in Victorville, CA, USA.
The flight test program will achieve several objectives that could contribute to future engine and aircraft efficiency improvements, including: enhanced understanding of engine/wing integration and aerodynamic performance as well as propulsive system efficiency gains; validating performance benefits, including better fuel efficiency that would provide a 20%* reduction in CO2 emissions compared to today’s most efficient engines; evaluating acoustic models; and ensuring compatibility with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).
“New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving aviation's net-zero objectives, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer. “By evaluating, maturing and validating open fan engine architecture using a dedicated flight test demonstrator, we are collaboratively making yet another significant contribution to the advancement of technology bricks that will enable us to reach our industry-wide decarbonisation targets.”
“The CFM RISE Program is all about pushing the technology envelope, redefining the art of the possible, and helping to achieve more sustainable long-term growth for our industry,” said Gaël Méheust, President and CEO of CFM International. “CFM, its parent companies, and Airbus all share the same vision and commitment for the future; the open fan flight test demonstration programme is an exciting next step toward achieving the industry’s net-zero goals.”
This collaboration with CFM highlights the diversity of Airbus’ technology demonstrator portfolio and complements the work being carried out to evaluate concepts and mature technologies for Airbus’ zero-emission ambition. In February 2022, the two companies announced a joint flight test program to validate hydrogen propulsion capability.
Airbus and CFM, along with parent companies GE and Safran, share the ambition of fulfilling the promise they made in signing the Air Transport Action Group goal in October 2021 to achieve aviation industry net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by developing and testing the technology necessary to make zero emissions aircraft a reality within the ambitious timeline defined.