Air Force awards Adaptive Engine Transition Program contracts

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Propulsion Directorate here has issued two separate contracts to design, develop, fabricate, and test complete, flight-weight, centerline, 45,000-pound thrust-class adaptive engines in the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP).

The contracts were awarded June 30 to General Electric Aviation and Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corporation. Both contracts have a total value of $1.010 billion each (including options) with a period of performance ending in September 2021.

According to AETP Materiel Leader, Lt. Col. Jeff Finch, adaptive engines represent a revolutionary advance in turbine engine technology. The adaptive engine optimizes performance and fuel efficiency across the flight envelope by utilizing a third stream of air to optimize the engine at different flight conditions. The engines will demonstrate 25 percent improved fuel efficiency, 10 percent increased thrust, and significantly improved thermal management.

Both companies have achieved major technical accomplishments during the Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program on preliminary design and component tests under contracts with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). GE and P&W are both ready to transition the technology to AFLCMC where the system-level benefits of the adaptive engine will be proven through the testing of multiple, complete, flight-weight engines.

"Throughout AETP, we look forward to working with both engine manufacturers as they continue maturing fuel-efficient adaptive cycle engine technologies," said Finch.  "Our collaborative focus will be reducing associated technical and manufacturing risks in preparation for next-generation propulsion system development for multiple combat aircraft applications."