14 juin 2018 | International, Aérospatial

Pratt & Whitney is pitching a new version of the F-35 engine

WASHINGTON — Pratt & Whitney is developing upgrades to the F-35's engine that will give it the power and cooling necessary to make the U.S. Defense Department's most sensor-heavy fighter jet even more of a powerhouse.

The new Growth Option 2.0 upgrade for the F135 engine, launched on Tuesday, adds a more advanced power and thermal management system that could be used to help the F-35 incorporate new weapons and sensors, the company said.

It also integrates a new compressor and turbine technologies that yield greater thrust and fuel savings, which were part of the Growth Option 1.0 concept unveiled in 2017.

In a June 12 interview with Defense News, Matthew Bromberg, president of Pratt & Whitney's military engines unit, said the company decided to work on improvements to the F135's power and thermal management system, or PTMS, based on feedback from the F-35 Joint Program Office.

Pratt in 2017 tested an early version of the Growth Option 1.0 motor called the fuel burn reduction demonstrator engine, which demonstrated that the upgrade could improve thrust by up to 10 percent and reduce fuel consumption by up to 6 percent.

But while the community that flies the F-35B short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing variant was gung-ho on the thrust improvements, the JPO said that better power and cooling was what was really needed — especially as the program transitions from the development phase to modernization, also known as Block 4 or Continuous Capability Development and Delivery, Bromberg said.

Pratt has already begun testing some technologies from the Growth Option 2.0 suite in various rigs and demonstrators. Bromberg called the upgrades “relatively low risk” and said it could probably be proven out in a four-year technology demonstration program.

But he declined to talk about completed testing or to quantify the new power and cooling improvements, saying only that they were “significant.”

Although the Defense Department hasn't signed onto an upgraded F135 engine as part of the Continuous Capability Development and Delivery effort, Pratt executives have been hopeful that it will do so as it finalizes that strategy.

“As the F-35 program moves forward with the Continuous Capability Development and Delivery strategy, we strive to stay in front of propulsion advances needed to enable F-35 modernization,” Bromberg said in a statement. “We're continuously assessing customer needs and responding with technology options to keep them ahead of evolving threats.”


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  • Counter-drone startup Epirus raises $70M, plans to hire 100 people

    18 décembre 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Counter-drone startup Epirus raises $70M, plans to hire 100 people

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  • NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon

    14 novembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    NASA wants Canadian boots on the moon

    By Mike Blanchfield OTTAWA — The head of the U.S. space agency says he wants to see Canadian astronauts walking on the moon as part of a first step toward the farther reaches of space. Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, says he wants Canada's decades-long space partnership with the U.S. to continue as NASA embarks on the creation of its new Lunar Gateway. The U.S. is seeking broad international support for the next-generation space station it is planning to send into orbit around the moon starting in 2021. Bridenstine says he wants Canada to contribute its expertise in artificial intelligence and robotics, and that could include a next-generation Canadarm on the Lunar Gateway and more Canadian technology inside. He says NASA wants to create a “sustainable lunar architecture” that would allow people and equipment to go back and forth to the moon regularly. “If Canadians want to be involved in missions to the surface of the moon with astronauts, we welcome that. We want to see that day materialize,” he said told a small group of journalists in Ottawa today. “We think it would be fantastic for the world to see people on the surface of the moon that are not just wearing the American flag, but wearing the flags of other nations.” He says the return to the moon is a stepping stone to a much more ambitious goal: exploration that could include reaching Mars in the next two decades. “The moon is, in essence, a proving ground for deeper space exploration,” he said. Bridenstine is in Ottawa for a large gathering of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada, where speculation is running high about Canada's possible participation in the U.S. space program. Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, a vocal booster of Canada's AI hubs in Ontario and Quebec, is also scheduled to speak, along with one of Canada's former astronauts, Marc Garneau, the current federal transport minister. On Dec. 3, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques will travel to the International Space Station on his first mission. The Canadian Press https://ipolitics.ca/2018/11/14/nasa-wants-canadian-boots-on-the-moon/

  • Germany tries to forge a deal on who can play ball in Europe

    22 septembre 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité, Autre défense

    Germany tries to forge a deal on who can play ball in Europe

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In a way, the more money put into defense, including by EU institutions, the better,” said Camille Grand, the alliance's assistant secretary general for defense investment. “Then there is a second point: that it is important those projects are allowed as full as possible [the] involvement of non-EU allies. Because the reality is indeed that those non-EU allies have strong connections with the European defense market, with the European defense industry,” Grand added. German officials have been optimistic about reaching a compromise since they took on the third-country challenge this summer. That is because their proposal piggybacks on a paper by the previous, Finnish-run presidency that was only narrowly rejected last year. A few modifications would be enough to clinch a deal. According to a German MoD spokesman, officials aim to present a workable solution to defense ministers at an EU foreign affairs council meeting slated for Nov. 20. Poisoned politics The current political context hasn't exactly been helpful for forging a deal. For one, there is the frosty climate between Germany and United States that stems from President Donald Trump's testy relationship with the country, and his assertion that the EU is taking advantage of American taxpayers on trade and defense. That rift makes the proposition of importing the powerful American defense industrial base into the bloc's defense cooperation calculus an uphill battle, especially in the European Parliament, a Brussels-based analyst argued. And Turkey, which is part of NATO but not the EU, is creating the perfect case study against allowing nonmembers into the inner workings of European defense cooperation because of its dispute with Greece and Cyprus over gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. “The German government is fairly optimistic that we will be able to find a compromise. The problem is that currently neither the Turkish policy nor the U.S. policy terribly helps to find such a consensus,” Kamp said. “We have a severe problem in NATO with its internal cohesion because some allies have issues with other allies,” he added. “We have a Turkish-French dispute in the Mediterranean and we have a Greek-Turkish dispute. Turkey is not always behaving in — let me say — in the way of an ideal NATO ally, and that just makes things a little bit more difficult.” At the same time, the flareup has yet to touch the ongoing third-party access negotiations, according to officials and analysts. “Concerns over dependencies, intellectual property and security predate the standoff between Greece and Turkey," said Yvonni-Stefania Efstathiou, a Greece-based defense analyst. Meanwhile, Pentagon officials have begun diving into a set of case studies designed to help them think through the nitty-gritty involved in setting up future cooperative programs under an EU umbrella, according to Kausner. “Those case studies illuminate the potential challenges on things such as intellectual property and re-transfer that we feel are still problematic,” the Defense Department official said. Another avenue to glean lessons for a wider EU application lies in the so-called European Defence Industrial Development Programme, or EDIDP, which aims to boost the bloc's defense industry cooperation through all manners of military technology. In June, the European Commission announced 16 projects eligible for funding from a two-year, €500 million (U.S. $593 million) pot. The selection includes “four participants controlled by entities from Canada, Japan and the United States,” the commission statement read. In theory, those projects “demonstrate the possibility to involve EU-based subsidiaries controlled by third countries or third country entities provided they fulfill appropriate security-based guarantees approved by Member States,” the statement noted. The commission has yet to say which participants hail from North America and Japan, and what roles they play, which suggests their integration into the project structure remains unfinished. As officials continue to sort out the details on intellectual property rights, liabilities and consortium structures, for example, a few principles are beginning to take shape. For one, the four non-EU countries in the European Free Trade Association — Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland — stand to get rights to partake in EU defense projects similar to member states. In addition, officials consider it easier to include British or American companies in projects when they are removed from immediate funding through the European Defence Fund. While European companies have their eyes on possible subsidies from the fund whenever they enter into PESCO agreements, there may not be an automatic funding eligibility for outside participants. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/09/21/germany-tries-to-forge-a-deal-on-who-can-play-ball-in-europe/

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