GE Aviation has been flight testing jet engines in Victorville in the Mojave Desert for more than a decade. But never one like the LEAP, the world’s first jet engine with 3D-printed fuel nozzles and parts from advanced ceramic materials. The engine, which was developed by CFM International, a joint venture between GE and France’s Snecma (Safran), flew for the first time in October. CFM has received more than $100 billion in orders and commitments (U.S. list price) for over 7,700 LEAPs, even though they won’t enter service until 2016.
In the third quarter of 2014, for which GE announced results today, the company also received its first orders for its newest engine, the GE9X. Emirates, Etihad and Lufthansa put in orders valued at $3.8 billion. The engine, which GE is developing for Boeing’s next-generation 777X long-haul planes, is full 11 feet in diameter. Like the LEAP, it will also include advanced composites, ceramics and 3D-printed parts. The engines will enter service in 2020.
Discussing the quarter’s earnings, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt pointed out that innovation helped deliver other recent highlights, like 1,000 orders for GE Transportation’s most advanced Tier 4-compliant locomotive and 13 new HA-class gas turbines, the largest and most efficient of its kind in the world.
The locomotive, for example, is the first engine that can satisfy new U.S. emission standards, which will go into effect in January 2015. The HA turbine can generate 500 megawatts and has a combined heat and power efficiency exceeding 61 percent, a benchmark that has been called the Holy Grail in the power generation business. “GE performed well in the quarter, with industrial segment profit growth of 9 percent and significant margin expansion,” Immelt said. “The environment is volatile, but infrastructure growth opportunities exist, and GE is executing well.”
Top three images: The LEAP’s maiden flight on October 6 in Victorville. Credit: GE Aviation