Pratt & Whitney is negotiating with Airbus Industrie over possible upgrades to the PW4168 engine for the A330 after its decision to suspend the PW4173 for the A330-300 (Flight International, 8-14 February).

"We will do something to the 4168, probably including putting in the TALON [low emissions] combustor, and we are working with Airbus to decide what ultimate thrust level will be needed," says P&W executive vice-president, engine programmes, Bob Leduc.

The PW4173 was a 73,000lb thrust (325kN) growth derivative of the baseline 68,000lb thrust PW4168, and was being targeted at A330 operators that wanted more power or higher take-off weights. Three orders had been placed by CIT Group and Flightlease, while US Airways had chosen the engine for some of its A330s, but not cemented the deal.

PW4173 development was halted when P&W met late development issues with the engine and its 100% composite nacelle. "Shame on us, we really didn't pay enough attention to the nacelle," says Leduc, who adds that the bleed air temperature and pressure from the 12th compressor stage threatened to "compromise" the structure. Alternative solutions, such as a diffusing "hoover" duct, exceeded the weight limit of the pylon.

Source: Flight International