Paul Lewis/Washington DC

Pratt & Whitney Canada and joint venture partner Snecma are to increase the thrust rating of the proposed SPW14 turbofan to compete for larger new regional aircraft, including the recently unveiled Embraer ERJ-170 and -190 developments.

"We started at 12,000-16,000lb-thrust, but, as time has gone by, things have tended to get bigger and we've gone beyond that," says David Caplan, P&WC chairman and chief executive. "We have to stay flexible to the size of the aircraft," he adds.

P&WC is believed to be looking at growing the SPW14 into the 18-20,000lb (80-89KN)-thrust range to fully cater for new regional jet families seating up to 100 passengers. Beyond this point, the engine will overlap with Pratt & Whitney's new PW6000 series, which will initially be certified at around 21-22,000lb to power the 107-seat Airbus Industrie A318.

The SPW14 is still without a launch airframe since the former Aero International (Regional) shelved the AirJet 70, for which the engine won the technical evaluation. The Franco-Canadian joint venture is continuing with conceptual and preliminary design of the powerplant.

Attention has now switched to Embraer and its search for a risk-sharing partner to power its proposed new 70/90-seat regional jet series, which is targeted to enter service from 2002 (Flight International, 17-23 February). "We're working heavily with Embraer and discussing the possibility of optimising the engine for the ERJ-170 and -190," says P&WC.

BMW Rolls-Royce is also understood to have opened talks with the Brazilian manufacturer on an application for its 15,500-18,000lb-thrust range BR710. This appears to be R-R's preferred candidate rather than resurrecting the proposed Allison AE30XX growth development, which it offered for the AirJet 70.

General Electric also plans to offer a version of its 14,000lb-thrust CF34-8 engine, similar to the -8C powering the 70-seat Canadair CRJ-700 and -8D selected for the competing Fairchild Dornier 728JET.

Source: Flight International