ILA: MTU eyes future engine programmes

Berlin
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While MTU plans to double its present revenues to €6 billion ($7.7 billion) by 2020 via existing and secured future programmes, the German engine specialist is still eyeing a number of potential opportunities for new powerplants in the commercial and military field.

The Munich-based company expects to break the €3 billion turnover mark for the first time this year, with estimated sales of €3.3 billion. Revenues should rise throughout the decade, largely because of the manufacturer's increased share in the International Aero Engines (IAE) V2500 and pending Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan (GTF) programmes.

A key project MTU still wants to join is for a powerplant for the planned Boeing 777 update. While the projected 777X programme has yet to be launched, MTU chief executive Egon Behle says he is "very confident" that General Electric - the sole engine provider for the latest-generation 777-200LR and -300ER - will also be "one of the engine suppliers" for the upgraded twinjet.

MTU is likely to be a partner in the respective GE programme, he adds, although its timetable is unclear.

A number of engine developments due to come into service after 2020 will be decided during the next five years. One of those will be an engine for the next-generation single-aisle aircraft (NGSA), which could be a further evolutionary step of the geared turbofan or, alternatively, an open-rotor engine.

Behle says he "personally" harbours doubts about the open-rotor and thinks the layout would be "less likely" for an engine. However, he adds that no matter what architecture airframers demand for an NGSA, MTU will be a partner in the respective engine programme, including the open rotor.

MTU joined forces with all IAE founding partners - Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and JAEC - for a future engine beyond the first GTF generation. This was arranged when Rolls-Royce left the consortium earlier this year over differences with Pratt & Whitney's GTF strategy.

Even though the military arena offers no prospect for growth in the foreseeable future, MTU hopes for new programmes which Behle says could come in the shape of a dedicated engine for unmanned air vehicles.

While manned aircraft performance is limited by the capabilities of the human body, UAVs can be designed purely with mission requirements in mind and so achieve much higher acceleration. Behle says that so far UAVs have been equipped with engines from the business jet sector, but future machines could require the development of new, highly demanding technology.

However, he adds, such a project would be on a smaller scope than the Eurojet EJ200 or Europrop TP400-D6.