Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), a business unit of Pratt & Whitney, a division of Raytheon Technologies Corp., plans to advance its hybrid-electric propulsion technology and flight demonstrator program as part of a $163M CAD [US$129.5M] investment, supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec.
"Pratt & Whitney Canada is proud to be a leader toward ever more sustainable aircraft propulsion technologies and be an integral part of Canada's green recovery plan," said Maria Della Posta, president, Pratt & Whitney Canada. "With a long-time commitment to sustainability and as Canada's top aerospace investor in research & development, having invested $500M CAD [US$397.3M] annually, we are driving economic growth, innovation, and workforce expertise to benefit the environment. Hybrid-electric technology has an important role to play in enabling the next step-change in efficiency for aircraft engines, and we are uniquely positioned to demonstrate this potential."
The new hybrid-electric propulsion technology will drive significant improvements in aircraft efficiency by optimizing performance across the different phases of flight, allowing the demonstrator to target a 30% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, compared to a modern regional turboprop airliner. P&WC is working with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. (De Havilland Canada) to integrate this hybrid-electric technology into a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 flight demonstrator. This demonstrator will include an advanced electric motor and controller from Collins Aerospace, also a Raytheon Technologies business.
The Government of Canada's Strategic Innovation Fund is backing the technology demonstrator, which will help put Canada's aerospace industry at the forefront of global efforts to make aviation more sustainable. The Government of Quebec is supporting this project through Investissement Québec and the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation, as part of an initiative known as, "Aéronef pour la mobilité numérique et verte de demain" (Green and Digital Aircraft of Tomorrow).
Combining advanced technologies developed by P&WC and Collins, this project is a successor to Project 804, launched in 2019 as a joint development program between the two companies. P&WC will target ground testing in 2022, leading to flight testing of the Dash 8-100 demonstrator in 2024.
Developing hybrid-electric propulsion technology is a core element of Pratt & Whitney's strategy to make aviation more sustainable.
"The investments announced today will help the aerospace sector increase its research and development efforts so that innovative, greener, more sustainable aircraft can be built right here in Canada for decades to come, creating good jobs for hard-working Canadians," said the Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has completed the first MQ-9A Block 5 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and ground control station (GCS) for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). GA-ASI and RNLAF commemorated the occasion with a special roll-out ceremony at GA-ASI's corporate headquarters in Poway, California, and the event was simulcast to the Netherlands.
The aircraft will begin its acceptance testing later this year at GA-ASI's Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility near Palmdale, Calif., and the aircraft will be delivered to the Netherlands before the end of 2021. The total Foreign Military Sales agreement includes four MQ-9A Block 5 aircraft and four mobile GCS, along with associated support equipment.
"We are proud to begin this new relationship with the Royal Netherlands Air Force," said Linden Blue, GA-ASI CEO. "With millions of hours of proven performance under its wings, the MQ-9 is ideally suited to support their nation's ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] needs. The Netherlands now joins the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Spain as NATO countries operating our advanced RPAs, with Belgium coming online in the next few years."
The MQ-9A Block 5 has endurance of more than 27 hours, speeds of 240kts, and can operate up to 50,000ft. It has a 3,850 lb (1,746kg) payload capacity that includes 3,000 lb (1,361kg) of external stores. It provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance capability with full-motion video and synthetic aperture radar/moving target indicator/maritime radar. The MQ-9A Block 5 is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.
Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business, has booked more than 800 orders and commitments for geared turbofan GTF engines since the beginning of 2021. Customers that have selected GTF-powered aircraft include Frontier Airlines, Volaris, Air France, Delta Air Lines, and, most recently, AerCap.
"GTF-powered aircraft are helping to lead the recovery around the world, while delivering unmatched fuel efficiency and world-class reliability to our customers," said Rick Deurloo, chief commercial officer and senior vice president at Pratt & Whitney. "We're the only engine maker with a geared fan in service today, and we're also leading the industry with the lowest carbon emissions for single-aisle aircraft. We're pleased with our orders to date and look forward to continuing this momentum throughout the year."
Aircraft leasing company AerCap is the world's largest A320neo family lessor with more than 300 owned, managed, and on-order aircraft. AerCap recently selected Pratt & Whitney GTF engines to power 80 additional Airbus A320neo and A321neo model aircraft. Deliveries of these aircraft are currently scheduled between 2021 and 2027.
"We are committed to providing our airline customers with the most fuel-efficient, advanced technology aircraft in the world, helping them to meet their sustainable goals in a profitable way," said Aengus Kelly, CEO of AerCap. "We look forward to enhancing our fleet with these GTF engines and working with the team at Pratt & Whitney as the aircraft deliver."
AerCap has placed GTF-powered A320neo family aircraft with airlines such as Spirit Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Sichuan Airlines. The lessor previously purchased hundreds of Pratt & Whitney-powered aircraft, including sizable fleets of Airbus A330 and A320ceo family aircraft; Boeing 777, 767, and 757 aircraft; and McDonnell Douglas MD-80 aircraft dating back to AerCap's roots as ILFC in the 1980s.
"AerCap has been a long-time customer of Pratt & Whitney, and we're pleased with their ongoing commitment to the GTF engine," Deurloo said. "These GTF-powered aircraft will deliver economic and environmental value to AerCap and their customers, and we look forward to supporting this new fleet."
Since entering service in early 2016, the GTF engine family has delivered on its promised ability to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions up to 20%, reduce the noise footprint 75%, and reduce regulated emissions 50% to the CAEP/6 regulatory standard.
Using proven advanced manufacturing techniques and continuing to drive down unit price, Sikorsky will build nine more CH-53K heavy lift helicopters under a new contract for the U.S. Navy. This production award also includes an agreement for the next production contract at an even lower unit price which will decrease further if additional quantity options are exercised, resulting in significant savings for the U.S. government and taxpayers.
The nine helicopters are part of a 200 aircraft Program of Record for the U.S. Marine Corps for a total of 33 production aircraft under contract with 3 of the 33 already delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps. Sikorsky will begin deliveries of the nine additional aircraft in 2024.
Sikorsky and the U.S. Navy also agreed to an even lower aircraft price for the next production contract of nine helicopters, to be exercised no later than February 2022.
“Our aggressive focus on quality and affordability and strong government-industry partnership has successfully reduced the aircraft price. We look forward to expanding our digital-build and production and delivering this advanced heavy lift aircraft as quickly as possible to the Marine Corps, joint force, and our allies,” said Bill Falk, Sikorsky CH-53K program director. “Our nationwide network of suppliers is contributing to cost reduction efforts and this award will continue our collaboration, realizing even more efficiencies.”
Since October 2020, Sikorsky has delivered three operational CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The Marine Operational Test & Evaluation Squadron 1, VMX-1, has begun flying the CH-53K aircraft as they prepare for the next phase of assessment known as Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, (IOT&E). Marines will evaluate how the CH-53K helicopter performs in fleet operating conditions at sea, in sand, and lifting external loads.
“The delivery of three CH-53K King Stallion helicopters is significant in that it continues the training process for the Marines, ensuring a smooth entry into service for this intelligent aircraft that offers dramatic improvements in performance, survivability, reliability, and maintenance for the Marines 21st century missions,” Falk said.
The CH-53K will further support the U.S. Marine Corps in its mission to conduct expeditionary heavy-lift assault transport of armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support distributed operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations, critical in the Indo-Pacific region.