Announced at the 2006 NBAA convention, the engine was originally designed as an 8,500- to 10,500-pound thrust turbofan to power super mid-size to large cabin business jets or 40 to 60-seat regional jets with a MTOW between 45,000 and 60,000 lb. Since original development the thrust range has been raised and is currently quoted as 9,500 to 12,000 pounds of thrust.
The engine architecture includes a solid wide-chord swept fan with a 4-stage booster, followed by a 4 axial stage + 1 centrifugal stage high pressure compressor. In early stage of the project, the overall pressure ratio was 27:1 with a core pressure ratio of "over 17". The high pressure compressor is driven by a single stage turbine, while the 42.5-inch (1.08 m) fan is coupled to a 4-stage low pressure turbine.
Turbomeca, which like Snecma is a part of the SAFRAN Group, participates in the design of the centrifugal compressor stage.
Early design featured a smaller 40-inch fan, no booster, one more high pressure compressor stage, one low pressure turbine stage less and a lower 4.5 bypass ratio.
The high pressure spool and combustor have been run in a US$ 120 million core-demonstrator called SM-X, reaching the take-off speed of 20,300rpm. While a full engine demonstrator was due to run towards the end of 2008, the FETT (First Engine To Test) started ground-based testing in September 2012. Flight tests are to be conducted from the last quarter of 2013 on a Grumman Gulfstream II in Istres.
Engine certification, originally pencilled in for the end of 2010 or early 2011, has been re-scheduled for 2015. Availability was planned towards 2012.