Two of the aerospace world's fiercest rivals have joined forces and technological know-how to develop a new engine for Boeing's proposed 747-500/600 airliner.

General Electric and Pratt & Whitney used the Farnborough stage to sign a commitment to develop, produce and deliver on schedule a new 310kN-350kN (70,000lb-80,000lb) engine.

Airbus Industrie has expressed interest in the first member of the new GP7000 family of engines, the GP7176, for its planned super-wide-body A3XX 500/600-seat aircraft.

GE Aircraft Engines president Eugene F Murphy says what only five months ago was just an idea has become a very real company, GE-P&W Engine Alliance.

Pratt & Whitney president Karl Krapek describes the joint venture as "a dream team of aerospace", combining the two companies' long experience based on 30,000 engines that have powered aircraft for a total of 1.6 billion flight hours.

"GE and Pratt & Whitney compete fiercely each and every day and will continue to do so, but the new alliance is the strongest weapon of the new company," Krapek says.

The alliance is strictly between GE and P&W, which will maintain the management, but partnership will be open to other companies.

Larry Scott, a 34-year veteran with GE and most recently general manager of the CF6 programme, has been named president of GE-P&W Engine Alliance with a staff of 25.

GE's Bruce Hughes and P&W's Tom Harper are co-general managers. Both have extensive management experience in joint venture companies.


New engine

The new engine is not a derivative of existing engines, but rather derived from the combined technological know-how of both companies in meeting the fuel burn, operating economies, noise and payload/range requirements of the Boeing 747 500X/600X.

GE and P&W yesterday revealed the preliminary design details of the GP7000 family. The GP7176 will be rated at 338kN takeoff thrust, with a 280cm (110in) fan diameter at Boeing's specifications.

Initial investment is $1 billion and the price per unit for the customer will be "competitive".

Final engine configuration is set to be agreed by the year's end, with the first full engine running in mid-1998 and certification targeted at the end of 1999.

Plans call for flight testing and engine/aircraft certification to be completed in 2000, with potential entry into commercial service by Christmas of that year.





Source: Flight Daily News