Pratt & Whitney Awarded Adaptive Engine Transition Program Contract for Future Fighter Engines
Pratt & Whitney was selected by the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to receive a more than $1 billion award for the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). As part of AETP, Pratt & Whitney will design, develop, fabricate, and test complete adaptive engines in the 45,000lb thrust-class, continuing the advancement and maturation of the next generation of military fighter engine technology.
Continued advances in propulsion technologies are needed to outpace ever evolving threats. AETP is specifically aimed at maturing a three-stream architecture and other advanced propulsion technologies considered essential for high-speed and long-endurance performance requirements. Pratt & Whitney is building on its position as the world's only fifth generation engine manufacturer to prepare for multiple potential low-risk follow-on Engineering, Manufacturing, and Development (EMD) program(s) for existing and next generation combat aircraft.
"We believe our program plan fully embraces the spirit and intent of the U.S. Air Force's goals to provide a highly capable adaptive engine design with the ability to power a wide range of future and legacy aircraft applications," says Dr. Jimmy Kenyon, senior director of Advanced Programs & Technology, Pratt & Whitney. "By leveraging the significant technical accomplishments achieved under the Air Force Research Laboratory's Adaptive Engine Technology Development program, as well as through the U.S. Navy's Variable Cycle Advanced Technology program, Pratt & Whitney – through AETP – will continue the progression of game-changing propulsion technologies critical to maintaining U.S. air superiority."
Pratt & Whitney demonstrated a three-stream fan in a rig in 2013 as part of the Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program. In early 2017, the company aims to take the next step and demonstrate the three-stream technology in an actual engine environment. The third stream provides an extra source of air flow to improve propulsive efficiency and lower fuel burn, or to deliver additional air flow through the core for higher thrust and cooling air.
In AETP, Pratt & Whitney will complete the detailed design optimization and conduct extensive risk-reduction and maturation activities. Studies and activities conducted as part of the program will guide the way towards using the adaptive engine in a range of future or legacy aircraft, providing confidence that it is ready for a low risk EMD effort focused on the appropriate application. From a timing standpoint, AETP will benefit fully from Pratt & Whitney's AETD and technology maturation experience, such as the demonstration of advanced turbine blade cooling technologies that allowed the company to achieve the highest-ever turbine temperature in a production-based fighter engine.
"We've gained tremendous insight from our experience designing engines for the F-22 and the F-35, which are truly a generation ahead," said Kenyon. "With that foundation in place, along with the tremendous progress we've made to date on AETD with our Air Force teammates, we're eager to move into the next phase of adaptive engine development."