General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has selected a Pratt & Whitney turbofan engine to power its proposed MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial refueling aircraft for the U.S. Navy.

The PW815 engine was delivered to General Atomics’ test facility in March and successfully performed its first test by early April. GA selected the engine based on its performance, fuel efficiency and suitability for the aircraft carrier environment.

“Through the superb efforts of personnel from both companies, we were able to move the test date forward by almost two months, from the originally scheduled date in late May,” said David Alexander, GA’s president of aircraft systems. “This is just another example of how we are working to reduce risk and accelerate capability.”

Alexander said GA has a 14-year history of working with Pratt & Whitney. The engine’s performance and efficiency translate into more available fuel for the receiving aircraft, he noted.

GA said the rapid development of the engine test stand demonstrated the team’s dedication to the principles of the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Accelerated Capability Office.  GA and Pratt & Whitney will continue risk-reduction testing in anticipation of the Navy’s MQ-25 selection in the coming months.

“Through many years of working with GA-ASI, we are routinely impressed with the quality of work produced and speed at which it is accomplished,” said Kinda Eastwood, senior director of the F117 and tanker programs at Pratt & Whitney. “This engine run was no exception. It performed flawlessly and met all test requirements. GA-ASI continuously pushes the envelope to meet the objectives and timelines for their customers.”

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