Rafale Fighter Flies with Upgraded M88-4E Engine

COURCOURONNES, France: The first test flight of a Rafale fighterpowered by the Snecma (Safran group) M88-4E engine (formerly designatedthe “TCO Pack”, for total cost of ownership) took place on March 22 atthe Istres air base in southern France.

Lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes, the flight was a total success, andwas used to expand the flight envelope. The complete test campaign forthe M88-4E engine comprises some 70 flights in 2010, with different engine configurations. Ten test flights have been carried out to date.
“We are satisfied with the successful initial flights of the M88-4E,the third major engine upgrade, reflecting our continuing focus on research& development. The latest evolution of the engine enables us tobetter meet the expectations of our customer, by helping decrease theRafale’s maintenance costs,” said Didier Desnoyer, Snecma’s VicePresident Military Engines.
The development of the M88-4E is proceeding very satisfactorily. Thefirst ground test of the engine was performed in September 2009.Development engines are now undergoing ground performance and endurancetests, and a series of altitude chamber tests was completed in lateFebruary. Qualification and delivery of the first production-standardM88-4E is now slated for the end of 2011.
In January 2008, French defense procurement agency DGA awardedSnecma the “TCO Pack” contract for the M88-2 engine. The aim of thiscontract was to extend the service life and time between inspectionsfor several parts of the engine. Modifications mainly concern thehigh-pressure compressor and turbine.
Designed for the Rafale multirole fighter, the M88 is the firstmember of a family of new-generation engines intended for 21st centurycombat and advanced training aircraft. The M88-2 now powers all air forceand naval versions of the Rafale. It is particularly well suited tolow-altitude penetration and high-altitude interception missions.
Snecma, a Safran group company, is one of the world’s leadingmanufacturers of aircraft and space engines, with a wide range ofpropulsion systems on offer. The company designs and builds commercial aircraftengines – including the CFM56* world’s leader - that are powerful,reliable, economical and environmentally friendly, along with militaryaircraft engines that have always delivered world-class performance.Snecma also develops and produces propulsion systems and equipment forlaunch vehicles and satellites. Snecma also offers a complete range of engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to airlines, armed forces and operators.

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