The M88 – a new generation engine
The M88-2 is a new-generation turbofan engine offering a high thrust-to-weight ratio with easy maintainability, high despatch reliability and lower operating costs.
The M88-2 incorporates advanced technologies such as integrally bladed compressor disks (“blisks”), a low-pollution combustor with smoke-free emissions, single-crystal high-pressure turbine blades, ceramic coatings, and composite materials.
The M88-2 powerplant is rated at 10,971 lbs dry and 16,620 lbs with afterburner. It is equipped with redundant “Full Authority Digital Engine Control” (FADEC), which provides for carefree engine handling anywhere in the flight envelope: the throttle can be slammed from combat power to idle and back to combat power again, with less than three seconds from idle to full afterburner.
Launched in 2008, the M88 TCO (“Total Cost of Ownership”) programme was initiated to further improve engine durability and bring support costs down. Capitalising on the ECO project, SNECMA was able to upgrade the high-pressure compressor and the high-pressure turbine of the M88-2: cooling is ameliorated and stronger components have been introduced, boosting durability by up to 50%. Life expectancy between overhaul has been considerably expanded for a number of modules, helping further minimise the impact of planned maintenance on engine availability.
The M88 is the subject of a constant improvement effort by SNECMA, leading to the latest M88-4E version, which builds on the TCO programme. This version, which offers a longer engine life, is now fully operational. Production deliveries began in 2012, and RAFALE aircraft now comes out of the production line fitted with M88-4Es.