Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: GTF Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan Consortium to be Formed

 - June 22, 2011, 5:12 AM

A consortium along the lines of International Aero Engines (IAE) will be created for the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofans (GTF) later this year, according to Dave Hess, Pratt & Whitney president. 

At present comprising Pratt & Whitney and two of its three IAE partners–MTU and Japanese Aero Engines Corp. (JAEC)–the new consortium will be responsible for development, marketing and after-sales support of the PW1000G Pure Power turbofans, currently chosen to power the Airbus A320neo, Bombardier CSeries, Mitsubishi MRJ and Irkut MC-21.

The shares each partner will hold has not yet been decided, but a source at MTU said the German manufacturer, which is responsible for the low-pressure turbine and the first four stages of the high-pressure turbine, “would have at least 15 percent” of the engine. JAEC, which builds the fan of the IAE V2500, will have a smaller share, he added.

Other significant contributors to the program include Avio and Volvo, who will function as risk-sharing partners, said Hess.

What about Rolls-Royce, the “missing” IAE partner?

When Airbus was considering the PW1100G for the A320neo, according to sources, the airframer had put considerable pressure on the Rolls-Royce to join the program so that Airbus could offer supplier continuity under the IAE banner to customer airlines. Rolls-Royce never agreed on the geared turbofan concept, however. Nor did it believe there was a business case for re-engining the existing single-aisle aircraft, and preferred instead to focus on developing an all-new powerplant for an all-new aircraft.

Hess told AIN that while P&W’s preference to power a Boeing competitor to the A320neo was for a “clean-sheet design to optimize the GTF’s excellent performance,” a downsized version of the PW1100G could still offer “double digit” fuel-burn improvements. While attractive to Boeing, the idea would certainly run up against the contractual deal that gives CFM exclusivity on all New Generation 737s, however.

CSeries Engine Flies

On Monday, the PW1000G flight-test program took to the skies with the first flight of the PW1524G engine (destined for the Bombardier CSeries) mounted on the inner pylon of a P&W Boeing 747SP flying testbed. The test program will involve eight engines over the next 18 months, with engine certification set for 2012 and entry into service the year after.

Bob Saia, Pratt & Whitney, executive vice president, next-generation product family, said the flight-test engine “performed even better than we expected. To date we have accumulated more than 400 hours of full engine ground testing and we are delighted with the initial results, which have demonstrated the geared architecture’s benefits of low fuel consumption, low noise and robust design.”