Pratt & Whitney claims advance in adaptive engine technology

US aerospace and defense firm United Technologies Corp´ s (NYSE: UTX) Pratt & Whitney jet engine unit said it has successfully completed initial design review with the US Air Force Research Laboratory on its Adaptive Engine Technology Development programme.

Pratt & Whitney said that the review confirmed that the initial design of Pratt & Whitney´s engine has the potential to meet system requirements and establishes the basis for proceeding with preliminary design of the AETD engine configuration.

The AETD program is an initiative led by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) to mature fuel efficiency technologies and engine design features that could transition into legacy and next-generation military combat aircraft.

According to the principals, the goal of the AETD program is to provide a 25% improvement in specific fuel consumption and a 10% improvement in thrust levels compared to current fifth-generation combat aircraft engines.

In addition to the initial design review, the Pratt & Whitney AETD team said it has completed several major milestones over the past year that include hardware assembly for an initial rig test evaluation of Pratt & Whitney´s adaptive fan concept scheduled for this summer at the Air Force compressor research facility.

The programme´s next major milestone is a preliminary design review that will take place in early 2015. This will determine that the design of the AETD engine is ready to proceed to the detailed design, manufacturing and testing phase.

according to Jeff Schweitzer, Pratt & Whitney AETD program director, Pratt & Whitney´s AETD team is designing an engine with technologies including a three-stream adaptive fan; a high-efficiency and high-pressure ratio compression system which takes advantage of advanced commercially-derived aerodynamics; a high-temperature, high-efficiency turbine; an optimised three-stream compatible exhaust system and an advanced engine thermal management system with greatly enhanced thermal capacity.

Pratt & Whitney´s proposed AETD program will lead to demonstration testing of an advanced high-pressure ratio core in early 2016, to be followed later in 2016 by full engine testing of a three-stream adaptive fan and three-stream compatible augmentor and exhaust system.

The introduction of the third flow path stream will allow the engine operating conditions and resultant bypass ratio to be modulated to optimize performance across all power settings and flight conditions. This capability allows for significantly reduced total fuel consumption across multiple missions, the firm said.

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