February 8, 1998 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Pratt & Whitney's newest engine, the F100-PW-229A, for F-15 and F-16 aircraft, demonstrated unprecedented performance in recent altitude tests at the company's Willgoos test facility. A
fter a quick check run, the engine ran to Mach 2. 0 to complete another critical qualification test. The engine, in development largely at company expense for six years, has already been tested to Mach 2. 3 at 40, 000 feet simulated altitude, and has logged over 450 test hours.
The latest tests in the ongoing series were to qualify production fan aerodynamics. A key difference between this engine and older model F100s is that it uses a new advanced aerodynamic fan derived from F119 engine technology P&W developed for the F-22 Raptor.
The robust design fan with its cast, one-piece inlet case exceeds air flow, efficiency and stall margin requirements. This is the first military fighter engine not to require variable fan inlet geometry, a tribute to P&W's technology development program. This design will also have a higher reliability, especially in sandy or dusty environments.
Pratt & Whitney's high efficiency fan reduces engine temperature to such an extent that if the engine is run at 29, 000 pounds, hot section durability will be doubled and engine overhaul will not be required until 6, 000 cycles, compared to 4, 300 today. Safety is also enhanced with capability to ingest a 2. 5 pound bird without thrust loss. In addition, the PW-229A's bladed first stage and integrally bladed rotors two and three design approach will allow easy field replacement of foreign object damaged-first blades, in contrast to a competitive design.
The new engine will run at 32, 000 pounds of thrust today and has thrust capability of 37, 150 pounds as demonstrated in March 1992. The first customer for the PW-229A may be United Arab Emirates
), if the UAE selects the Lockheed Martin F-16 as its new fighter aircraft.