Pratt & Whitney will begin ground testing a full-scale geared turbofan (GTF) engine in December.

The manufacturer has completed assembly of the demonstrator engine at its Middletown, Connecticut engine center, and shipped the powerplant to its advanced test facility in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Ground testing will continue through May 2008 and flight testing will begin mid-next year on Pratt & Whitney’s Boeing 747 flying test bed.

“This is an exciting time at Pratt & Whitney as we watch our next generation product, the geared turbofan engine, begin its validation testing program,” says P&W VP, next generation product family Bob Saia in a statement.

“To date our 15 technology rigs have demonstrated that the geared turbofan engine components are operating at or above our expectations. This demonstrator engine will validate performance at the full engine level and demonstrate the game-changing characteristics of the geared turbofan engine.”

Earlier this month, the GTF engine was selected to power the proposed Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ). The sole-source agreement is the first airframe application for the GTF engine, which is scheduled to enter service in 2012-2013.