Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell announced yesterday here at Le Bourget that they have agreed to work together to develop a new, 3,000-shp turboshaft engine for the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters under the Army’s Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine (AATE) technology demonstrator program. AATE could provide the winner with an eventual market for up to 5,000 engines, according to Pratt & Whitney military engines president Thomas Farmer.
The other AATE contender is GE Aviation, which supplies the T700 turboshaft currently powering Black Hawks and Apaches. In 2000, GE and P&W signed a deal to develop an engine for the same applications under the Common Engine Program, which P&W subsequently pulled out of. “The common core agreement with GE was for the existing [T700] engine program and did not allow Pratt & Whitney to leverage its advanced engine technologies for future application,” said Farmer.
“We felt it was time to get into the military helicopter engines business,” he added. “The synergies with Honeywell, which has been one of our major suppliers in other programs are excellent.”
The AATE program is aimed at providing fuel burn savings of 25 percent and a 65-percent increase in power-to-weight ratio. Production and maintenance costs will be cut by 35 percent and development costs by 15 percent.
P&W brings technologies from its other military engine programs, while Honeywell will contribute via its successful small heavy fuel engine program. Farmer said that, if selected, the two “will discuss other applications” arising from the engine. “They could be military or civil.” He denied the two are looking at a longer term strategic relationship. “We’re just friends. We’re not going to the altar,” he added.