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NEWS Drop-in wonder engine?

TexasForever

Well-Known Member
pilot
I was browsing realcleardefense.com the other day and saw an ad for a new wonder engine that Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell are developing for the Army. Supposedly it's a drop-in replacement for the -64 and -60 and boasts 50% more power, 25% more fuel efficient and 20% longer engine life due to a new dual spool compressor design. The website was flashy but lacking substantive information.

-What makes this design so much better?
-What are the drawbacks?
-Is the Navy/USMC showing remote interest in this engine (MH-60S, H-1 series)?
-Is it even worth it since those aircraft were designed for a "weaker" engine?
-Thoughts?

http://www.dualspoolrules.com (catchy)

I'm suspicious, but open to be surprised in a good way
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
I, too, am suspicious.

Contractors float proposals like this all the time, and few of the glossy brochures end up forecasting reality in my experience. As to your questions, they have probably designed en engine with better materials, flow dynamics, and fuel scheduling (think FADEC vs. mechanical fuel/vane control). Just changing to a dual-spool engine from a single spool design can boost efficiency significantly.

Drawbacks could be anything, but cost is probably the biggest. Other factors, such as FOD sensitivity, reliability, and depot-level maintainability could be drawbacks as well, but that's pure speculation.

No idea if the Navy's interested, since I don't fly helos or work in their sector of T&E.

Whether it's "worth it" is what usually gets debated at program offices and budget meetings in Washington. Qualitatively, my friends who have flown 60s in places like the NAG and Iraq say that more power available would be a very welcome addition to their aircraft. More efficiency and power is generally better for the mission, as long as the existing aircraft can handle the throughput (gearbox, shafts, rotor head, structure, etc.). Those factors all have to be evaluated prior to and during T&E.

My thought is, it's probably worth it, but acquisition budgets are already stretched thin and likely to get worse. Because of that, anything that isn't absolutely essential to do the mission probably won't get funded. But you never know, they've looked at towing a sonar sled with a 60 for ASW and, from what I heard, the main limitation was engine power. So who knows?
 

SynixMan

Staff Life
pilot
Contributor
IMO, if they ever did an engine upgrade, it would be to the newer GE D model engine, since it's more or less of a drop in replacement. However, I don't see it happening. Too many other priorities for why meager money gets spent on helos.
 

Beans

*1. Loins... GIRD
pilot
The past 35+ years have seen a number of improvements in mechanical parts of gas turbine engines, while we've kept on using the (more or less) same T700. It's rather silly that we've sat that out, honestly. 3D blade designs (rather than a 2D design with a twist or other effect), multi-spools (which is apparently so rad in this engine), and better materials for the combustor & turbine sections, allowing higher OPRs and better efficiencies. If you rolled the last 35 years of engine design in to one change in technology, yeah, you'd have a far better piece of equipment enabling the usual improvements (power, efficiency, etc).
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
Independent of a P&W or GE engine, if you've sat in any of the NARGs the last few years, this comes up. Everyone agrees a better engine would be helpful, especially on the HSM side. But with that engine, you also need new blades in order to get the power out of the engine. The current tranny can take the new engines, but not with the current blade design. At the end of the day, upgrading both seems universally accepted as a great idea. However, there are also a bunch of other priorities that also need to be addressed, some of them much more immediate. And of course, there's only so much (read: almost none) money to go around.

So the engine/blade upgrade gets sent to the bottom of the list, at least for now.
 

ChuckMK23

Former H-46 Driver
pilot
This is for the Improved Turbine Engine Program - Army sponsored program for to replace all T700's in the Navy, Army, Coast Guard and AF inventory on H-60 and AH-64 airframes. Also known as the Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine Program.

GE has this one pretty much "in the bag"... (and yes, I am being partial to my employer :))
Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 4.27.26 PM.png
 

ChuckMK23

Former H-46 Driver
pilot
I was browsing realcleardefense.com the other day and saw an ad for a new wonder engine that Pratt & Whitney and Honeywell are developing for the Army. Supposedly it's a drop-in replacement for the -64 and -60 and boasts 50% more power, 25% more fuel efficient and 20% longer engine life due to a new dual spool compressor design. The website was flashy but lacking substantive information.

-What makes this design so much better?
-What are the drawbacks?
-Is the Navy/USMC showing remote interest in this engine (MH-60S, H-1 series)?
-Is it even worth it since those aircraft were designed for a "weaker" engine?
-Thoughts?

http://www.dualspoolrules.com (catchy)

I'm suspicious, but open to be surprised in a good way
NAVAIR is partially funding the program - 75/25 Army and Navy
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
But you never know, they've looked at towing a sonar sled with a 60 for ASW and, from what I heard, the main limitation was engine power. So who knows?
the "sled" was for MCM and was a towed sonar as opposed to a sled. The main limitation was single engine power; as in if you lost a motor odds are you were going swimming.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
NAVAIR is partially funding the program - 75/25 Army and Navy
That's great, but it's not on anyone's radar at the fleet level at the moment. I'm sure that will change in the '20's as the communities get their high-demand weapon/sensor systems and can focus on performance down the road.
 

ChuckMK23

Former H-46 Driver
pilot
That's great, but it's not on anyone's radar at the fleet level at the moment. I'm sure that will change in the '20's as the communities get their high-demand weapon/sensor systems and can focus on performance down the road.
It isn't just about performance and power - it's way more than that.

- Fuel efficiency and the ability to run on bio fuels and lower carbon footprint - yes at some point the .mil community will have to pay a carbon tax as part of their war fighting budget.

- Way more advanced materials and the ability to "print parts" at a Depot level or AIMD type facility - on a GE parts printer, connected to the Industrial Internet - using additive technologies. Think about being to print, on demand a hot section part, initially from powdered ceramic / metal powders, and cured with a simple device at AIMD - either deployed or at base.

- Way fewer inspections - zero or little work to engine pac during Phase. Literally "on condition" - unless a wireless tablet or a cockpit display gives you an indication.

- Far far lesser manning in rates like AD, etc.

yada, yada, yada - you get the point.

You can use technology as a lever top reduce enlisted manning.
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
at some point the .mil community will have to pay a carbon tax as part of their war fighting budget.
That's the worst idea I've heard so far today. "Let's take this military that barely has enough to make ends meet, and deliberately charge them more money to fight wars so we can build more windmills and 'clean' industries, and power our political self-licking ice cream cone."

End result: Wars still get fought, carbon is still released and more debt is accumulated by the government for windmills and "clean" corporate subsidies.

ETA: This is why I will never be a politician.
 

ChuckMK23

Former H-46 Driver
pilot
That's the worst idea I've heard so far today. "Let's take this military that barely has enough to make ends meet, and deliberately charge them more money to fight wars so we can build more windmills and 'clean' industries, and power our political self-licking ice cream cone."

End result: Wars still get fought, carbon is still released and more debt is accumulated by the government for windmills and "clean" corporate subsidies.

ETA: This is why I will never be a politician.
Agree its a dumb idea - :)
 

RobLyman

- hawk Pilot
pilot
None
It isn't just about performance and power - it's way more than that.

- Way more advanced materials and the ability to "print parts" at a Depot level or AIMD type facility - on a GE parts printer, connected to the Industrial Internet - using additive technologies. Think about being to print, on demand a hot section part, initially from powdered ceramic / metal powders, and cured with a simple device at AIMD - either deployed or at base.
Print parts at Depot or AIMD? Never! There is too much money to be lost by GE if parts can be made locally.

BTW, are 3D printers really capable of the precision required for turbine engine parts?
 
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