Pratt & Whitney engine powers UCAS-D flight
Pratt & Whitney has announced that its F100-PW-220U engine and exhaust system have powered the first flight of the second Northrop Grumman X-47B flight test aircraft for the US Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) programme. The company made the announcement in a 28 November 2011 company statement.
According to the company, the flight of aircraft known as Air Vehicle 2 (AV-2) took place at Edwards Air Force Base on Nov. 22 and lasted for about 30 minutes.
According to the company, Northrop Grumman awarded a contract to Pratt & Whitney in 2008 to develop and integrate the engine and exhaust system for the X-47B. The Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220U engine, a derivative of the F100-PW-220 and -220E engine models that power the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcon, enjoys the maturity gained from more than 12 million hours of operational experience. The engine and unique exhaust system have successfully completed ground accelerated mission testing. The accelerated mission test simulated the planned usage of the propulsion system during the X-47B flight test program. This endurance test demonstrated the durability and performance of the F100-PW-220U unique engine hardware and the exhaust system.
The F100-PW-220U engine is capable of providing up to 16,000 pounds of thrust and is intended for operation in a maritime environment, including carrier deck operations. The successful addition of AV-2 to the demonstration program provides a critical inflection point for the UCAS-D flight test program. The availability of two flight test aircraft is important for helping the program maintain a satisfactory flight test rhythm as it begins transitioning both aircraft to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., for shore-based carrier suitability testing in early 2012. Carrier demonstrations for the unmanned combat air system are scheduled in 2013.
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