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By Scott Hamilton
March 30, 2020, © Leeham News: Pratt & Whitney is concurrently developing what might be termed the next generation GTF. This is an advancement over the current engine, but with more thrust and better fuel economics.
“We have been discussing with Airbus for some time, an improvement to the current configuration or our expected configuration,” Deurloo said. “I think that’s a testament to the geared architecture. It’s given us some runway to do a little bit more on that engine.
PW has been in conversation with Airbus for the last few years about an engine that will take configuration at the end of this year, and put in an improvement.
“We don’t like calling it PIP, because PIP to me is a performance improvement package typically where you have a shortfall in fuel and/or in durability, and you put a PIP package in to do a catchup,” Deurloo said.
PW planned to announce the name of the engine at the now-canceled Farnborough Air Show.
“It’s something we’re going to take our base engine, I hate saying that, but our base engine and doing more for it. It’s going to give it more fuel burn improvement, it’s going to give it more durability, and it’s going to give it more thrust,” Deurloo said.
“We think to take that engine, and especially when you pair it up with it with the XLR, which is why Airbus pushed us pretty hard on this, it really is a differentiator for that airplane, for that market, for its capability. We’re really excited that not only are we on track with our upgrade and configurations to have the engine we always expected and our customers wanted, but it also gives us the ability with this architecture to do more to this engine. That to us is first and foremost.”
Low rate production is targeted for 4Q2022. Airbus’ planned EIS for the XLR is 2023. Within 18-24 months, the new engine will be 100% Pratt standard, Deurloo said.
PW remains focused on getting its Geared Turbo Fan “where it needs to be,” nearly 3 ½ years after entry into service on the Airbus A320neo.
“As far as the noise, weight, fuel burn and emissions, we’re meeting all of our customers’ expectations, I would say maybe beating them,” says Rick Deurloo, SVP of Commercial Engine Sales & Marketing. But, “I think the performance of the engine though, from a durability standpoint, has been a challenge.”
The GTF’s problems, with premature failures of components unrelated to the main gearbox, delays and erroneous fault indications plagued the engine since EIS. Airlines grounded airplanes. India’s regulator ordered the A320neo fleet operating within the country grounded. More than 100 A320neos were built by Airbus and stored without engines as PW diverted new engines to the airlines.
“There’s been a lot of energy and attention on engineering and development right now around fixing the current motor to where we need it to be. We have everything in place to go do that. We’ll put our final goodness into that engine in the third block quarter this year. I think it’s important, because then it talks about what’s next. It sets us up for where we’re going.”