DARPA orders Transformer vehicle engine

Oct. 20, 2010 at 9:15 AM
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CANOGA PARK, Calif., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will design an engine for Transformer TX, a vertical takeoff and landing, road-worthy concept study vehicle.

The design engine for the project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will use technology from the EnduroCORE engine developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

"We are honored DARPA chose Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne to design an engine for a vehicle that will help our nation's troops effectively and safely carry out missions without being constrained by existing roadways and conventional landing zones," said Scott Claflin, director of Power Innovations, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "Since 2005, we have been talking to the U.S. Marines and DARPA about the propulsion needs for a Transformer Vehicle, and the EnduroCORE engine characteristics address those needs."

The company described the EnduroCORE engine as a durable, lightweight, high-performance diesel engine designed to support applications ranging from propulsion to power generation. It is mechanically simple for reliability, scalable to support a wide-range of critical missions, and has demonstrated quiet operation in testing, it said.

The EnduroCORE engine is also a full-compression, full-expansion, diesel-cycle engine, which makes its fuel consumption comparable to diesel piston engines. High rotating speeds enable a high power-to-weight ratio comparable to gas turbines.

The TX vehicle, still in its conceptual phase, will be designed to carry up to four people. It will be capable of vertical takeoff and landing and traveling up to 250 nautical miles without having to refuel. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will work with the two DARPA prime contractors to develop a conceptual design of an engine for TX vehicles that could be developed and available by 2015.

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