On Friday 15 August the US Department of Defense announced that five companies had been awarded contracts – each worth $975 million for a total of $4.9 billion – for their development work for an adaptive engine for the US Air Force’s Next Generation of fighters.
The companies receiving the award were: General Electric, Raytheon subsidiary Pratt & Whitney, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Each an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract requires the individual company to deliver technology maturation and risk reduction activities through design, analysis, rig testing, prototype engine testing, and weapon system integration.
This takes the US Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP), which has been developed through two engine-makers – GE Aviation and Pratt & Whitney – to the next level of technology. Both manufacturers are also numbered among the new contract awardees.
The mix of airframers and engine manufacturers hints that the next generation fighter and its engine will be developed in tandem to meet the Air Force’s ambition for a leap forward in capability.
The completion date has been set at 11 July, 2032.
by Andrew Drwiega