Aircraft engine manufacturer CFM International is focused on the development of a new sustainable engine rather than a potential supersonic engine, the company’s chief executive has said.
Gaël Méheust said he believed that the supersonic engine market “targets a very small potential niche”.
“We are focusing on developing an engine that will be a step-change in emissions and fuel performance. […] We are committed to doing it full-speed and it doesn’t open an opportunity to do something else for what is potentially just a niche market,” Flightglobal cited the CEO as saying during the ALTA AGM & Airline Leaders Forum on October 16, 2022.
“I don’t see this market being significant enough to divert investment into a supersonic engine,” Méheust added.
CFM is the second major engine maker to say it is not interested in building engines for supersonic aircraft. Rolls-Royce said in September that it would not be carrying out further work on supersonic engines, two years after signing a collaboration agreement with Boom Supersonic.
Boom has said it will bring a supersonic commercial airliner dubbed the Overture, to market in 2029, but has not yet revealed any details of the propulsion. When Rolls-Royce ended their partnership, Boom said it would announce its engine partner “later this year”.
Instead, CFM, a joint venture between US-based GE Aviation and France’s Safran Aircraft Engines, is busy working on its Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine program (RISE). Under the program, CFM aims to develop a new aircraft engine capable of powering narrow-body airliners and cutting both jet fuel costs and carbon by at least 20% compared to current engines.
Launched in June 2021, the RISE program is dedicated to introducing new propulsion technologies that could “pave the way for the next generation of aircraft and an ever more sustainable future”. As a part of the program, CFM International aims to investigate the use of 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and hydrogen which could deliver revolutionary engine performance in the future.
“Should these energy sources be approved by the aviation authorities, any future CFM engine will be compatible with the selected pathway(s),” according to the manufacturer.
The next generation aircraft engine, which is being built under the RISE program, is expected to enter service in the mid-2030s.