EMBRAER HAVE lifted the lid on their plans to revitalise the E-Jet family, announcing an agreement with Pratt and Whitney to provide new geared turbofan powerplants for the airliners the Brazilian manufacturer have dubbed “the second generation”. This signifies the end of a unique relationship with current engine providers General Electric, who had offered a modernised version of the GE CF34 for the new planes. Embraer president Frederico Fleury Curado has stated that the new family will also incorporate a new wing and full fly-by-wire implementation. A conceptual image of the new aircraft has been revealed on the company’s press-release site.
Having experienced a rough 2012, Embraer will be keen to make sure this development reverses that trend. The E-Jet family saw order numbers drop off a cliff and the programme suffered another blow when a crucial order from Delta Air Lines was scuppered in favour of the CRJ900 in mid-December. The manufacturer had offered an improved version of the E175, widely known as the “E175plus”, which promised to provide as much as 5% cost savings over the current model, with a portion of these savings attributed to a new wingtip device. It remains unclear whether this option is still being pursued for future sales.
The new re-engined E-Jet features the latest PurePower engines from Pratt and Whitney, similar to those found on the Cseries being developed by competitor Bombardier. The conceptual image also reveals a new wing design, a slightly modified wingbox and removal of the dorsal fin from the vertical stabiliser. Finally, it appears that the upgraded variant will also do away with the blended winglets found on the current model, seemingly replaced by a raked design not dissimilar to those found on the Boeing 787. The company have not yet stated whether new materials, particularly weight-saving composites, will be implemented into the second generation E-Jet.
Embraer have said the new aircraft will be launched later this year and are expected to enter service five years later in 2018, providing double digit improvements in operational efficiency, as well as significant noise impact reductions. As expected, the planemaker have not mentioned whether the E170 will be upgraded however previous statements suggest this is unlikely.