Paris Air Show

Pratt & Whitney Chief Questions CFM Leap Technology Claims

 - June 18, 2013, 1:20 AM

Pratt & Whitney president Dave Hess, celebrating an “incredible 12 months” of commercial engine activity, has responded to CFM International’s claims that its Leap engine for the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 Max have materials technology leadership over the Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan. “We’re at the beginning of the runway with our engine,” he said. “We’re going to double the 15- to 16-percent fuel burn improvement we now bring and we have a roadmap for that. This program has great legs for development rather than a percent or two available from [the competing engine] with conventional architecture.”

Hess revealed that P&W expects to add at least 1,000 more PurePower orders and options at the show in addition to the 4,000 it has already sold on the five applications to-date for the geared fan engine. Testing for the A320neo’s PW1100G has reached 450 hours with the four engines on test. “We’ve demonstrated another half a percent fuel burn improvement on predictions,” said Hess. “With all five applications we’re right on target for entry into service on weight and fuel burn from day one, which is a rarity in this industry.”

At the show, CFM had pointed to its “revolutionary” first-ever use of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) and additive manufacturing technologies in a commercial aircraft engine. Hess answered that the technologies have already been used in P&W’s military engine programs such as the F135 engine powering the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter “and will be incorporated in commercial engines as part of future development. We have a very detailed technology roadmap. This is the just beginning, not the end.”

Meanwhile International Aero Engines president Jon Beatty confirmed at the show that the IAE designation might be applied to PurePower PW1100JM engines for the Airbus A320neo family. The purchase of the Rolls-Royce share in IAE left the three remaining shareholders–Pratt & Whitney, MTU and Japanese Aero Engines–with similar workshares to those they already have in the neo engine. “The shareholders will decide,” he said. “We know that customers like to see branding, and they like IAE.”