GE, Pratt Each Get $1 Billion for Adaptive Engine Development

The Air Force on June 30 kicked off a high stakes battle between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney for the next-generation adaptive engine, awarding each company $919.5 million and $873.2 million respectively to begin their designs. The total value of each contract, including a priced option, is $1.01 billion, according to a Pentagon announcement. The contract calls on the companies to design, fabricate, integrate, and test multiple full, flight-weight centerline, 45,000-pound thrust turbofan adaptive engines, with work slated to finish in September 2021. The engine is expected to increase fuel efficiency and power—for example, the F-35’s Pratt & Whitney F135 engine produces 43,000 pounds of thrust. General Electric, in a news release announcing the contract, touted its engine design’s projected statistics, including 25 percent better fuel consumption and 30 percent improvement in range. Its engine uses ceramic composites for lighter weight and a “three-stream” adaptive engine for better heat absorption. Pratt & Whitney, which has built the engines in the Air Force’s most recent F-22 and F-35 fighters, touts its “low-risk, follow-on” engine development as the only company that has built power plants for fifth generation fighters. The two companies were selec?ted in 2012 to begin adaptive engine development. (See also: Adaptive Engines from the September 2012 issue of Air Force Magazine.)