Pratt & Whitney has lost out again on a second key contract to develop next-generation engine technology for fighters, bombers and airlifters.

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announced on 25 September awarding contracts to General Electric and Rolls-Royce to develop the next leap in high pressure ratio compressor systems and active flow control inlets and exhausts, with the focus on 20,000lbs-35,000lbs thrust class of engines.

However, the AFRL rejected bids by Pratt and Honeywell to win the so-called Highly Efficient Embedded Turbine Engine (HEETE) contracts.

The announcement comes one month after Pratt was named as the sole losing bidder for the AFRL’s Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) programme. The AFRL again selected GE and Rolls to each develop the ADVENT demonstrator, which would be based on the core of next-generation commercial engines above the 20,000lbs-thrust-class range.

With ADVENT, the air force is seeking to leverage next-generation commercial engine cores for a wide range of subsonic and supersonic military applications.

HEETE, by contrast, seeks to make a “quantum leap” in key engine technologies that could later be integrated in the ADVENT systems.