General Atomics Aeronautical Systems successfully tested Pratt & Whitney’s PW815 turbofan engine on an inlet and exhaust mock-up for its proposed MQ-25 unmanned aerial aircraft on 5 April.

The test met all objectives and the joint team is now further evaluating data collected from that test, according to GA-ASI.

GA-ASI announced in February that it selected Pratt & Whitney’s PW815 turbofan engine to power its proposed unmanned aerial refueling aircraft for the US Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray programme.

The PW815 is rated at 16,000lb-thrust, which is substantially more than the proposed engine for Lockheed Martin’s MQ-25 bid, the 10,000lb-thrust General Electric F404, and the proposed engine for Boeing’s MQ-25 bid a 9,000lb-thrust version of the Rolls-Royce AE3007.

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The drone manufacturer emphasized that its engine testing was done on short notice. The test stand was commissioned at the beginning of 2018, a PW815 engine was delivered to GA-ASI’s test facility on March 5th and by early April the team performed the first test.

“GA-ASI has a 14 year history working with P&W and selected the PW815 engine for the MQ-25 based on its exceptional performance and fuel efficiency,” said David Alexander, president of Aircraft Systems for GA-ASI. “This performance and efficiency will subsequently translate into more available fuel for the receiving aircraft. Additionally, initial studies have shown the PW815 is well-suited for a carrier environment.”

The GA-ASI and Pratt & Whitney team will continue risk reduction testing in anticipation of the Navy’s MQ-25 selection in the coming months, according to GA-ASI.

The PW815 also is the power plant for the twin-engine business jets Gulfstream G500 and Gulfstream G600. The G500 is close to completing FAA certification testing and is scheduled to be delivered to a customer later this year after a delay of several months.

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