The US Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Pratt & Whitney (P&W) a contract to develop and demonstrate a range of turbine engine technologies that will be vital in creating new US Navy and Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Under a $12.7 million, 39-month contract, P&W will integrate advanced performance and efficiency technologies into a new technology demonstrator engine configuration based on its PW800 engine core. This configuration is expected to be particularly relevant to the emerging classes of more capable UAVs, due to its high specific thrust within a compact design.
The work will be performed under the Joint Technology Demonstrator Engine (JTDE) program, which is one aspect of the US government’s wide-ranging Integrated High Performance Turbine Engine Technology (IHPTET) initiative.
P&W’s work will focus on component technologies such as high temperature lightweight material systems. These, when integrated with other technology enhancements, are expected to double propulsion system capability, a critical issue in developing more capable UAVs. The effort will also help improve the performance, readiness and cost of vehicles such as the persistent intelligence/ surveillance/ reconnaissance (ISR) UAVs, and high mach systems such as the Long Range Strike Aircraft.
The demonstrator engine will also serve as one of P&W’s baseline configurations for the US government’s Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engine (VAATE) program, which seeks to advance propulsion system technology for future air systems.
‘The Navy has a long history of working with Pratt & Whitney to develop and demonstrate advanced propulsion technologies that support Naval aviation,’ said Charlie Gorton, head of the NAVAIR Propulsion and Power Technology Office.
‘We look forward to continuing that relationship with the award of this contract, which will demonstrate technologies that can enhance warfighter readiness, safety and performance, and will be applicable to a wide range of current and future aerospace systems,’ added Gorton.