Recessions come and go, but the quest to develop ever more efficient engines for the next generation of single-aisle aircraft continues. Given the time it takes to develop new powerplant technologies, which can be measured in decades, engine manufacturers have to be more confident than most of eventual recovery in the airline industry if the millions spent on research and development are not to be wasted.
General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136
GE Aviation is pushing the engine design envelope with flight testing of ceramic composite components in the hot section of a GE Rolls-Royce F136 Joint Strike Fighter development engine. The components being tested are third-stage, low-pressure turbine vanes made of ceramic matrix composites (CMC).
Rolls-Royce’s plans to build a greenfield factory in Singapore to manufacture and test the latest Trent engines came as no surprise given the increasing importance of the Asia Pacific region as a market for aircraft engines.
Following the selection of its RB282 to power Dassault’s new super-midsize design at the Paris Air Show in June– beating competing designs from Snecma, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada and General Electric–Rolls-Royce has announced it will build a North American plant to build the newly launched 10,000-pound-thrust engine.
Briefings to the eight international partners in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program on what role their industries can play in the massive F-35 production effort will begin next month. Some intensive negotiations will follow, including the vexed issue of U.S. technology transfer, so that a production sustainment and follow-on development (PSFD) MoU can be signed in December.
Low observability The reduced radar cross-section of the F-35 allows it to evade most enemy air defenses, both airborne and ground-based. Program officials note that stealth features on the aircraft have been traded against cost, so it is not as stealthy from all aspects as, for instance, the F/A-22 Raptor.
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