Military engines: Development thrusts

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Now part of Perm Motor Complex, the Aviadvigatel design house is working on a high-bypass version of its 26,400lb-thrust PS-12 turbofan for the Russian/Indian Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), planned to be developed by Irkut, Ilyushin and Hindustan Aeronautics. This will have a 10% higher thrust to meet the Indian air force's hot-and-high requirements. Development will begin as soon as requirements for the engine are finalised, which will be after Russia and India set up a joint venture to manage the MTA programme.

Ukraine's ZMKB Progress is offering the 26,400lb-thrust D-436TX for the Il-214/MTA, using the core of the commercial D-436T3/4 - a further derivative of the D-36/D-436 turbofan series powering the Antonov An-72/74 and An-148, Beriev Be-200 and Yakovlev Yak-42.

The TX variant features a new low-pressure turbine and large geared fan, and Progress says it will start development as soon as it receives the final aircraft specification.

Aviadvigatel, meanwhile, plans to use the PS-12 core in a family of new engines with thrust ratings from 15,400lb to 40,000lb. The engines will have the same basic high-pressure system with six-stage compressor, low-emissions annular combustor and single-stage turbine. Lower-thrust versions will have smaller fans, fewer low-pressure compressor stages and lower turbine temperatures. Perm is proposing the PS-9 for the Beriev Be-200 search-and-rescue amphibian, the PS-14R to re-engine Il-76 transports and the PS-18 to power the future Tupolev Tu-330 military transport.

In 2004, Perm completed military certification for the PS-90A76 for the Ilyushin Il-76MD stretch and refurbished Il-76TD/MD variants. The Russian defence ministry ordered an initial 10 engines, and the first of two re-engined Il-76MD-90s entered flight testing last year. An order for 100 engines is anticipated to equip Russian air force aircraft, while others will be required to power five modified Il-76MFs ordered by Jordan and the Czech Republic in 2005. But PS-90A76 production plans are still uncertain as the launch of new Il-76 production in Russia is delayed.

NPO Saturn's D-30KP turbofan also powers the Ilyushin Il-76 and its derivatives. China signed a $300 million contract in 2005 for 240 D-30KP-2s to power Il-76MD transports and Il-78 tankers, but implementation has been delayed by tensions between Russian arms agency Rosoboronexport and Uzbekistan's TAPO plant, manufacturer of the Il-76.

Bench tests of the improved D-30KP-3 Burlak turbofan were completed in 2006, achieving 31,000lb thrust against the expected 28,600lb, and Saturn plans to test the engine on a flying testbed this year. The Burlak features an all-new fan with wide-chord blades and bypass ratio increased from 2.2 to 3.7.

Although the Russian military has announced plans to withdraw from the Antonov An-70 airlifter programme, Motor-Sich is working on an initial batch of nine Progress D-27 propfan engines to equip two Ukrainian air force An-70s under completion at KiGAZ Aviant for entry into service this year. The D-27 was modified to meet a Russian air force requirement that the An-70 transport to meet civilian Stage 4 noise limits, requiring its counter-rotating Stupino propellers to have increased separation.

In 2002-3 NPO Saturn began production of the 9,900lb-thrust 36MT turbofan, after production of the original engine ended in Ukraine. The variant features improved operating efficiency, increased reliability and reduced assembly time. A total of 80 engines were assembled in 2006 for use in the latest versions of the Kh-55 and Kh-59 air-launched cruise missiles.

In April 2006, Saturn signed a $100 million deal to provide TRDD-50MT engines for India's Lakshya unmanned air vehicle. Plans called for licensed production in India, but the deal was suspended by the Russian authorities, fearing India might use the engine to power a medium-range cruise missile.