A Chinese intervention in Ukraine would kill its aerospace industry

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By Bryan Corliss


March 23, 2023, © Leeham News – Chinese leader Xi Jinping flew into Moscow this week for a three-day summit with accused Russian war criminal Vladimir Putin. 

They wined and dined. They talked publicly about economic accords and oil pipelines and pledged mutual support. In private, Putin almost certainly made a plea for stepped-up Chinese support for his faltering invasion of Ukraine. They made bold statements about banding together to oppose the hegemony of the West, which has united against Russia with sanctions including bans on providing Russia with the basic technology it needs to build weapons

And at the end of it all, on Wednesday, Xi walked up the jet stairs to his Air China 747, built by Boeing in Everett, America. He turned and waved, and then flew back to Beijing.

That moment, with Xi standing in front of the massive American-made jet, may just illustrate China’s conundrum right now: Xi, by all accounts, wants nothing more than to shove aside the post-Cold War order that has confined his nation from global Great Power status. An alliance with Putin’s Russia could be a key step toward that.

And Xi, as he looks around the interior of his jumbo jet, has to be acutely aware that China remains dependent upon the Western democracies for software, computer chips, and – critically – aircraft. 

  • War has created headaches for aerospace
  • Chinese tensions are bigger issue
  • China loses in a proxy war with West
  • Boeing’s China business is effectively frozen
  • Airbus in China may also be at risk

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P&W, Collins Aerospace launch hybrid-electric demonstrator

By Scott Hamilton

July 18, 2022 (BST), © Leeham News: Pratt & Whitney and sister company Collins Aerospace announced the launch of a hybrid-electric technology demonstrator, it was announced today at the Farnborough Air Show. This program is for future advanced air mobility vehicles.

Collins and Pratt & Whitney Canada, the turboprop engine unit, also announced the completion of the preliminary design of a 1MW motor for the demonstrator. A De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 will be the platform for the commercial hybrid-electric application.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 9. Parallel Hybrids.

March 4, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a summary of the article Part 9P. Parallel Hybrid, the Deeper Discussion.

We look into the Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace, and De Havilland project to create a Parallel Hybrid propulsion alternative for the Dash 8 turboprops.

The project “targets a 30% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, compared to a modern regional turboprop airliner” according to the Pratt & Whitney press release.

Figure 1. The Parallel Hybrid components of the project. Source: Pratt & Whitney video.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 9P. Parallel Hybrid. The deeper discussion.

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By Bjorn Fehrm

March 4, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to Part 9. Parallel Hybrid. It uses Leeham Company’s Aircraft Performance Model from our consultancy practice to analyze the design of a Parallel Hybrid aircraft for regional operations.

Our design brief is to make turboprop upgrade packages for De Havilland DH8-200,-300, and-400 aircraft. By using a Parallel Hybrid we could “target a 30% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, compared to a modern regional turboprop airliner” according to Pratt & Whitney Canada. Time to check if we can reach these levels.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 8. Serial Hybrids.

February 25, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a summary of the article Part 8P. Serial Hybrid, the deeper discussion.

We take an ES-19 type of battery aircraft and add a range extender to avoid the inadequate range we found in Part 6 and 6P.

Initially, it seems a good idea. We can use the benefits of the battery and then complement it with energy from the range extender. As you systematically work through the concept, the problems surface.

Figure 1. Serial Hybrid works for cars (Toyota Prius pictured), but not for aircraft. Picture: Toyota.

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ATR, Pratt & Whitney launch new turboprop engine

By Judson Rollins

November 16, 2021, © Leeham News: ATR and Pratt & Whitney Canada jointly announced a new PW127XT engine for the ATR-42 and -72 series at the Dubai Air Show. The XT designation stands for “extra time on wing.”

Pratt & Whitney says the engine will offer 40% greater time on wing, 20% lower maintenance cost, and 3% lower fuel consumption than the current-generation PW127M.

The 40% time on wing assumes a 60-minute average mission in “benign environments.” The reduction in maintenance cost is driven by a requirement for just two scheduled engine events in ten years. Fuel burn improvements were achieved via a new compressor and updated turbine module. Read more

Pontifications: Engines drive timing of new Embraer TPNG

The first report appeared Oct. 18, 2021.

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 25, 2021, © Leeham News: Embraer appears marching toward launching a new turboprop aircraft next year with a targeted 2027 entry into service.

The timing will be determined by the engine. Pratt & Whitney, GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce have development programs. PW and GE are farthest along. PW is thought to have the best chance of winning Embraer’s business. (Pratt & Whitney supplies the engines for the E2 jet. GE supplied the engines for the E1.)

In an interview at the IATA AGM Oct. 3-5 in Boston, Arjan Meijer, the president of Embraer Commercial Aviation, said the competition remains open today.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of hydrogen. Part 30. Integrated nacelles.

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 26, 2021, ©. Leeham News: This week, we look at combining the propulsion and hydrogen tank in an integrated nacelle as Airbus proposes in Figure 1.

Airbus calls it its “pod” solution. What are the advantages, and what challenges does it present?

Figure 1. Airbus concept for a turboprop with integrated nacelles. Source: Airbus.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of hydrogen. Part 24. Propulsion choice

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 12, 2021, ©. Leeham News: After covering the basics of fuel cells last week in our hydrogen airliner series, we now look at what type of system to choose for aircraft propulsion and onboard systems power.

We analyze the propulsion side this week.

Figure 1. A SAFRAN concept for a low emission airliner from its Clean Sky 2 presentation. Source: SAFRAN.

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Outlook 2021: Turboprops challenged

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By Judson Rollins & Bjorn Fehrm


Jan. 11, 2021, © Leeham News: COVID-19 may ultimately prove to be a net positive for turboprop manufacturers. Near-term orders will be pinched just as for jets, but a long-term loss of business travel and the resulting impact to airline yields will make turboprops’ superior unit costs appealing for shorter missions.

Turboprop engines create their thrust with a very high bypass ratio. The result is 30% better fuel economy than a jet. But it also means 30% lower speed. This limits turboprops to stage lengths to about half that of jets.

The market-dominating ATR and De Havilland Canada (DHC) turboprops use this base efficiency to compete against newer regional jets despite having designs which are 20 years older.

ATR-72-600 Source: Wikipedia.

  • Turboprops have attractive economics, making them a larger part of the market post-COVID.
  • ATR-72, DHC-8-400 turboprops are old designs.
  • The only new turboprops come from Russia (Ilyushin I-114) and China (Xian MA700), limiting their market reach.
  • Embraer is keen to enter the market with a new clean-sheet design.
  • Continued dominance by ATR, DHC depends on whether Embraer goes ahead.

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