GP7200: Safran’s contribution to the engine of the A380

To get this "giant of the air" off the ground, some pretty special engines were needed. Reliable and efficient, the GP7200 has proved itself up to the challenge. Snecma (Safran group) has played its part in this success by producing the high-pressure compressor.

56%: this is the current market share of the GP7200, one of the high-power engines that equips the Airbus A380. Snecma (Safran group), responsible for the high-pressure compressor, participates in this program, developed by Engine Alliance*, a joint venture between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney. "We account for 20% of GE's share in the operation, i.e.: 10% of the engine," explains Bertrand Hugueny, High-Power Engines Program Director at Snecma. "We are in charge of the nine-stage high-pressure compressor and its maintenance," he says. Other companies of the Safran group are also involved in the propulsion system, for the low-pressure compressor and FADEC unit, along with the nacelle and thrust reverser.

Experience in catering to requirements
The high-pressure compressor is a particularly complex assembly: "The GP7200 delivers between 70,000 and 77,000 lbs of thrust," explains Jean-Yves Bezard, program manager: "An engine in this thrust class is particularly complex to design, especially with us having to comply with ambitious weight restrictions. This required the use of cutting-edge technologies, such as integrally-bladed rotors (blisks), inertia friction welding of the drums, and so on. We have drawn on the experience acquired on the GE90, another high-power engine developed in conjunction with GE."

A satisfied customer
The wager has paid off: the GP7200 offers unparalleled performance in terms of reliability and added-value for the companies using it. "The feedback from Airbus has been first-rate," says Bertrand Hugueny. "We have exceeded the requirements of the technical specifications by providing extra fuel efficiency in the order of around 1.5% compared to the initial spec and to the rival engine, equating to savings of around half a million dollars per aircraft per year for the operator!"
Specially designed for the A380, this engine has a bright future ahead of it: "124 aircraft have been ordered to date with the GP7200 engine," Jean-Yves Bezard points out. "The production rate is on the increase, and in late spring 2011 we shall be delivering the 150th high-pressure compressor."

* The Engine Alliance is a grouping dedicated to the design and manufacture of the engine for the A380.