Pratt Eyes Next-Gen Fighter Motor

Hartford, Conn.—The Pentagon’s new engine initiative—a $1 billion effort slated to start in Fiscal 2015—seems to be aimed at enabling the next Air Force fighter, Pratt & Whitney next-generation engine chief James Kenyon said. “That’s certainly what we’re seeing,” he told Air Force Magazine during a company media event. However, “they’re not real clear what that’s going to be.” He noted that the budget request includes $20 million for “next generation air dominance,” and he suspects it will be used for “studies, analyses of alternatives, requirements studies, [and] trying to determine exactly what the requirements are going to look like.” The trade studies will likely examine “how critical is supercruise? Just how far do I want my range to be? Is it 600 nautical miles … 800 … 1200?” Also to be resolved are issues like manned versus unmanned, how many capabilities will be onboard versus offboard, etc. “The key buzzword is ‘system of systems,’” he observed. All of these answers will “come to define the primary platform, the fighter platform … and that will define what the propulsional problems will be.”