FARNBOROUGH 2008: P&W’s Power play as GTF goes live

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Pratt & Whitney has gone on the counter-offensive by launching its PurePower engines, claiming they offer “double-digit improvements in fuel burn; environmental emissions; engine noise and operating costs”.

P&W has clearly been stung by GE, Rolls-Royce, Snecma – and even CFM – questioning the long-term viability of its geared turbofan (GTF) technology. Amid considerable hoopla and smoke at the company’s stand in Hall 4, P&W president Steve Finger unveiled models of the PurePower PW1000G, formerly GTF, and PurePower PW800 engines, previously known simply as PW800.

 steve finger pratt & whitney

“Airlines and business aircraft customers want pure engine solutions that deliver economic and environmental benefits without compromises,” says Finger. “P&W PurePower engines employ game-changing technologies to deliver step-change improvements, not in 2016 or 2020 - but now.”

This was a clear reference to yesterday’s announcement from CFM that it is to research and build a new single-aisle sized engine named Leap-X for certification in 2016 (with a little help from its joint owners GE and Snecma) and use the technology to develop an open rotor power-plant too, with 2020 as the time-frame for engine certification.

With the first PurePower engines due to enter service in 2013, P&W says a new standard will be set for all future engines to build upon, including double-digit improvements in fuel burn, environmental emissions and engine noise, while bringing value to airlines and operators with again a double-digit reduction in operating costs.

The PW1000G engine is the exclusive power for the new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (15-17,000lb thrust) and the Bombardier CSeries (24,000lb thrust), while the PW810C engine has been selected by Cessna to power the Citation Columbus business jet that will enter service in 2014, a year after the two new RJs.

The PW1000G flew on-wing for the first time just before Farnborough, mounted on P&W’s B747SP test-bed, and it will also fly on an Airbus-owned A340 before the end of the year. And P&W has confirmed that one of the major airframers has made an approach, asking the company to conduct studies for a widebodied GTF application.

Speaking at Farnborough yesterday, Bob Saia, VP for P&W’s next generation product family, said the engine would be a PW4000 replacement in the 60,000 to 100,000lb thrust range for a 250-passenger aircraft or larger. Saia declined to specify which manufacturer, Airbus or Boeing, had commissioned the study.