General Electric and Pratt & Whitney are again on opposing teams as the US Air Force evaluates rival Boeing and Northrop Grumman bids for the KC-X replacement tanker. Boeing has selected P&W's PW4000 to power the KC-767, while Northrop has chosen GE's CF6-80E1 for its Airbus A330-based KC-30.

Largely through its CFM Inter­national venture with Snecma, GE engines power more than 80% of the USAF tanker fleet. Most of the 2,100 CFM56 (F103) engines in military service - 1,838 CFM56-2s - power Boeing KC-135 tankers and derivatives, while 164 -2As power the Boeing E-3 airborne warning and control system and E-6 command and control aircraft.

The latest CFM56-7B powers the AEW&C version of Boeing's Next Generation 737, with 20 more on order for the first 10 of a planned 108 737NG-based P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft for the US Navy. P-8 flight tests are to begin in 2009, leading to initial operational capability in 2013.

GE's larger commercial turbofan, meanwhile, is in flight test on the first two modernised Lockheed MartinC-5Ms, which have been re-engined with the CF6-80C2L1F (F103). If funding continues for all the currently planned USAF C-5A and B conver­sions, GE expects to deliver engines to Lockheed until around 2019-20.

The F117 military version of P&W's PW2000 commercial turbofan continues in production for the Boeing C-17, but deliveries are to end by 2010 unless more domestic or international orders for the airlifter are secured. Meanwhile, production of the JT8D-219 turbofan is to restart following the long-anticipated go-ahead to re-engine the USAF's Northrop E-8C JSTARS airborne ground surveillance system aircraft. The JSTARS testbed is to be retrofitted by January 2008, with the remaining 17 aircraft to be re-engined by fiscal year 2013. Based on the JSTARS deal, for around 90 engines, P&W intends to chase a requirement to re-engine NATO and USAF Boeing E-3s.

Honeywell is producing small numbers of commercial engines for military programmes, including TFE731 turbofans for trainers such as the Hongdu/PAC K-8 and Lockheed Martin Argentina AT-63. Working with Italy's Avio, the International Turbine Engine (ITEC) joint venture between Honeywell and Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development produces the F124 powering the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 advanced trainer. Seven engines have been delivered for flight test, with production planned to begin late this year for deliveries in 2008. The F124 also powers the Aero Vodochody L-159 advanced trainer.

Pratt & Whitney Canada has the largest share of the military trainer market, with its PT6A turboprop powering the USAF/Navy Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texan II as well as the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano and Pilatus PC-21 - the latter recently selected by Singapore. P&WC's JT15D turbofan, meanwhile, powers Alenia Aermacchi's M-311 revamp of the S-211 jet trainer.

PW&C's PW127G turboprop powers the EADS Casa C-295 light transport, which has orders for 54 aircraft from Algeria, Brazil, Finland, Jordan, Poland, Portugal and Spain. The type is in the contest for the 145-aircraft US Army/Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft requirement against Alenia Aeronautica's C-27J, which is powered by the same Rolls-Royce AE2100 engine as Lockheed Martin's C-130J.

P&WC continues to develop its commercial-off-the-shelf applications of its engines for military uses, but for the first time is actively working with P&W to formulate methods of compliance with the US government's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) as it looks to enlarge its military business. Although initially only affecting a small number of engines, P&WC hopes having ITAR procedures in place will help it win future US military sales.

As a US manufacturer, Williams International has long enjoyed a position on sensitive military programmes such as cruise missiles. Now the company is supplying its small com­mercial turbofans, the FJ33 and FJ44, for a growing range of military aircraft. While the FJ44-1 powers the re-engin­ed Saab SK60 trainer, the latest FJ33-4-17M is in development for the ATG/IAI Javelin Mk20 advanced trainer. Certification of the aircraft - initially in baseline Mk10 configuration as a civil very light jet - is due late 2008.

The FJ44-3E also powered Lock­heed's P-175 Polecat, a 4,100kg (9,000lb) low-observable, high-altitude unmanned air vehicle designed to demonstrate several technologies.


Source: Flight International