The choice between two engines - PW1400G developed by famous American company Pratt&Whitney and PD-14 developed by United Engine Corporation (UEC), is believed to be one of the strong points of MS-21 project.As it turned out during Paris Air Show 2013, the American company is still waiting for Irkut Corporation to present the final requirements in the area of engine thrust for MS-21-400 - the largest member of MS-21 next-generation single-aisle aircraft family developed in Russia.
Vice-president, Next Generation Product Family, Pratt&Whitney, Mr. Bob Saia, said in his interview to AEX.RU that he may have to opt out of supplying engines for MS-21-400 if the required thrust exceeds the capabilities of PW1000G core.
PW1000G – is the engine family also known as Geared Turbofan (GTF) or PurePower. The maximum thrust for this engine family is 33,000 lbs or about 15 tons, Mr. Saia said. PW1100G and PW1400G have the highest thrust as compared to the other members of the family. They have a fan diameter of 81 inches (2,1 m) and bypass ratio of 12. Depending on the aircraft model the takeoff thrust of PW1100G engine varies from 10 to 15 tons.
According to Mr. Saia, his engineers developed PW1100G taking into account the requirements of European airframers. And they asked for 27,000 lbs of thrust (12247 kg) for “mainstream” А320neo, 24,000 lbs (10886 kg) – for smaller А319neo and 33,000 lbs for the largest member of the family - А321neo. All the versions of PW1100G must grant 16% fuel burn savings and decrease of operational costs by at least 20% as compared to V2500 and CFM56 engine families, which power the existing single-aisle serial Airbus aircraft.
Mr. Saia says that PW1100G is identical to PW1400G except for electric wiring and form of engine nacelle. The differences are caused by the specific nature of engine mounting of Airbus aircraft and jets developed by Irkut. "They are identical in terms of testing", - Mr. Saia added. This fact allows P&W to provide the same figures for both models.
By the opening of Paris Air Show this engine test program has amassed 450 hours on four test engines. One of these engines performed its first flight aboard Pratt & Whitney’s flying test bed on May 15th 2013. "At the time of opening of Paris Air Show the engine test program accumulated 35 flight hours", - he said. The engine performed flights aboard Pratt & Whitney’s Boeing 747SP flying test bed. The jet is equipped with a stub wing used for testing of PW1100G-JM test engine. The flying test bed has performed a total of seven flights in this configuration.
Mr. Saia said that PW1100G/1400G "is on schedule and shows some positive results". At present P&W is preparing for the "Block 2 testing" scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2013. "We have already completed critical and strength tests of the test engines. The results show the compliance with the claimed parameters. Certification testing of the engine will be started in August-September 2013", - he added.
In some way Irkut Corporation will benefit from the fact that the first new engines will be delivered to Airbus, because, most probably, all the possible design flaws and “teething problems” of PW1100G will be eliminated during operation of new Airbus aircraft. The deliveries of MS-21 aircraft should be started in 2017; by this time the aircraft will have a truly reliable powerplant.
Irkut chose PW1400G as the primary engine option for MS-21-200 and MS-21-300 aircraft several years ago. To date the airframer has secured 250 orders and commitments for jets of the type (firm orders for 135 aircraft). Irkut Corporation and P&W signed the definitive agreement to offer PW1400G engine as the baseline engine for MS-21-200/300 aircraft in June 2012. Soon one of the MS-21 Family customers – Ilyushin Finance & Co. leasing company firmed up the purchase of 50 MS-21 aircraft (the initial agreement was signed at MAKS-2011 airshow) by transferring a deposit of $2 million into the Irkut’s account.
"Irkut has already placed a firm order for 200 engines; this refers to certified production version of the engine. However, some of them are intended for MS-21 prototypes instead of serial jets", - Mr. Saia said. He parried the question on prepayment of Irkut’s order. "We have elaborated another mechanism. We will be waiting for Irkut to sell the jets", - he explained.
Serial MS-21 jets may also be powered by PD-14 engines developed by United Engine Corporation (Russia). Mr. Saia sees the competition between PW1400G and PD-14 as rivalry between him and General designer of Aviadvigatel, Alexander Inozemtsev. "Actually, we are friends. Our friendship started long ago when I represented the American shareholder in Perm. We owned 25% of Perm Engine Company’s shares at that time", - Saia explained. This fact makes the rivalry even more interesting, he added. "We are working hard to beat the PD-14 team. But at the same time we want to make MS-21 program a success".
Both PW1400G and his “twin” PW1100G have their rivals. The major rival of the latter engine is LEAP-1A developed by CFM International (joint venture between Snecma and General Electric). The engine was also selected by Airbus for A320neo Family aircraft. Moreover, LEAP-1B will power Boeing 737MAX and Chinese COMAC C919 will be powered by LEAP-1C.
We asked the Pratt&Whitney’s vice-president to name the advantages of PW1100G engine over its rival. And that is what he said: "The technical and economic analysis of these engines shows that our product has lower fuel burn (-3%). Moreover, we have advantage in the area of repair and maintenance costs as well as noise footprint. Thus our customers will benefit from some savings as compared to LEAP. We believe that PW1100G’s life-cycle cost is lower by 3% as compared to LEAP-1A. So the airlines will gain some “added value” (about $3-4 million). It is a significant amount for the aircraft of this class".
Since GTF project was the first one to start, “we have a lead of about 9 months in terms of design maturity”, - Saia said. The first flight of A320 powered by PW1100G engines is scheduled for October 2014 and the deliveries should be started in the first quarter of 2015. All the delivered A320neo will be powered by PW1100G engines during a period until early 2016.
It must be noted that Airbus is two years ahead of its main rivals in terms of service readiness – the deliveries of Boeing 737MAX and MS-21 will be started in 2017.
The choice of Bombardier was the main factor for GTF project. It was announced in 2007 that CSeries next-generation commercial aircraft will be powered by PW1500G engines. Saia recalls: «We got green light from them having promised that our engine will provide significant fuel savings (over 10%) and lower operational costs as compared to the existing ones». PW1500G engines have a thrust of 8,5-11 tons, fan diameter of 73 inches (1,9 m) and bypass ratio of 12,2. The first full PW1500G engine was completed in September 2010.
After successful completion of test program, which involved 9 test engines (three of them logged a total of 340 flight hours), PW1500G achieved Transport Canada certification. During the test program a problem with a valve in an oil sump (the valve prevents the oil sump from overheating) was eliminated by making alterations in the design. Mr. Saia provided this example speaking of the importance of refinement of the engine’s basic design.
Speaking about the present status of PW1500G program, Saia said: "We have already delivered engines for three test aircraft to the customer. The specialists of Bombardier are doing their best to make the maiden flight of their new jet a reality as soon as possible. They have a great team and I think they will succeed".
Is there a chance that next-generation Pratt&Whitney engines will power other Russian-produced aircraft, besides MS-21? Bob Saia said that this matter is being discussed with United Aircraft Corporation. The aviation community was speculating about the possibility of installing GTF engines on an upgraded version of Sukhoi Superjet. "It’s not happening", - Bob Saia commented. He also added that Pratt&Whitney is focused on MS-21 project."We want this program to be successful. As for me, I am glad to cooperate with our Russian partners in the network of MS-21 project". The Pratt&Whitney’s future projects in Russia depend on the results of this one.
GTF engines have been selected by five airframers so far. Pratt & Whitney now has more than 3,500 orders for PurePower Family engines. Besides PW1100G/PW1400G and PW1500G the GTF Family also comprises PW1200G engine (thrust 6800-7710 kg) intended for Japanese MRJ regional aircraft and PW1700G (having a thrust of up to 10 tons) intended for E-Jets E2 Family by Embraer. Speaking of PW1200G, the “smaller version” of PW1100G/1400G, Bob Saia said that the engine will be certified next year.
About $1 billion was invested in R&D in the network of GTF project. Pilot work in this area was being carried out for more than 20 years. Since the start of design definition in 2008 P&W has conducted over 4800 hours of engine testing across PW1000G program. Numerous tests of engine components have been performed, in particular, the gear system separating the fan from low pressure compressor and turbine has amassed over 9000 hours of rig testing.
There is a program for sustained upgrade of the engine performance. «For example, for A320neo we grant the 15% fuel savings at the initial stage. From this point on as the program moves forward we will improve the fuel savings by another 10% in a decade», - Mr. Saia said. We plan to improve the engine core performance and reduce the gear ratio from 3:1 to 4:1 and then to 5:1.
The PD-14 engine developed in Russia for MS-21 aircraft has a takeoff thrust of 13-15 tons, fan diameter of 1,9 m and bypass ratio of 8,5. It was stated that PD-14 will provide 12-16% fuel savings as compared to the existing engines of its class (cruise mode) and it will also provide a decrease of operational costs by 15%.
The assembly of technology demonstrator has been completed and its rig testing is in progress. At the same time the specialists of UEC, TsAGI and CIAM are testing the engine’s components. The production program for 2013 includes production of 5 test engines. The testing of first PD-14 demonstrator engine will be started in September 2013. UEC will complete the design drafting this year allowing testing the engine aboard Il-76 flying test bed. The flight testing will be started in mid-2014.
Aviadvigatel submitted an application for certification of PD-14 engine to the Aviation Registry of the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC). The Russian manufacturer hopes to establish close cooperation with EASA with the help of IAC and obtain EASA certificate for PD-14 engine in future.