Pratt & Whitney Canada to invest $1 billion in R&D over five years

Latest programs include cutting-edge materials such as composites and advanced alloys to improve engine weight.

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Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC, Longueuil, Quebec) announced that it will invest over $1 billion in research and development (R&D) over the next 4.5 years to develop the next generation of high-performance aircraft engines. The investment includes a $300 million repayable contribution from the Government of Canada under the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) program. P&WC is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (Hartford, CN, US).

"The Government of Canada's continued commitment to the aerospace industry will help support high-quality job opportunities for the next generation of skilled workers in Canada and allow P&WC to continue to be an innovative leader in the industry,"  said P&WC president John Saabas.

Developing Cutting-Edge Technologies
P&WC reports that it is developing the most advanced propulsion technologies for improved environmental performance, including reduced fuel consumption and weight, lower emissions and less noise. These technologies will be leveraged across the company's product families for new and existing turbofan, turboprop and turboshaft engines in business, regional and general aviation and helicopter applications. P&WC is also currently investing $275 million over five years in cutting-edge technologies and upgrades to its facilities, including the creation of a world-class Centre of Excellence for intelligent manufacturing in Longueuil. This Centre of Excellence will feature three new intelligent production lines dedicated to manufacturing highly complex key components for the new-generation family of PurePower engines. It is expected to be fully operational in 2015.

"Pratt & Whitney Canada leads the industry in developing the next generation of high-performance and sustainable technologies," said Saabas. "Our latest R&D programs include cutting-edge materials such as composites and advanced alloys to improve engine weight, a high-efficiency compressor technology to enhance engine performance and reduce fuel consumption, and further improvements to our combustion systems to reduce engine emissions. We are also implementing advanced technologies and intelligent cell concepts to bolster our manufacturing capabilities in Canada. This investment will ensure that we remain technology-ready to support our customers in the years ahead."

Continued Commitment to R&D
This R&D investment will also strengthen P&WC's long-standing collaboration with major universities and suppliers across Canada. "Every year, we invest $10 million in projects with close to 20 Canadian universities to develop new engine technologies for the next generation of environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient aircraft," said Saabas. "To date, hundreds of students have worked on more than 800 projects in collaboration with P&WC's engineering team. We are proud to contribute to the development of future engineers and technicians."

P&WC has long been active in promoting collaborative aerospace R&D as a founding member of the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) and more recently, the Consortium for Aerospace Research and Innovation in Canada (CARIC). Through its participation in Quebec aerospace cluster Aéro Montréal, which is chaired by senior VP sales & marketing Maria Della Posta, P&WC is also working to introduce an equivalent of Quebec's MACH supplier development initiative as a national program. Moreover, P&WC is currently working with approximately 1,300 Canadian suppliers, which in turn helps them develop their own cutting-edge skills and expertise and maintain their own competitiveness.

P&WC has a long-established commitment to investing in R&D to spur innovation and power sustainable growth. With an average $450 million in annual R&D investments over the past 10 years, it ranks among the top Canadian R&D investors. Continuous R&D investments have allowed the company to certify more than 100 engines over the past 25 years, a benchmark in the aerospace industry.

Investing in Canada
P&WC has a strong presence across Canada, with major facilities in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia employing more than 6,000 people, including approximately 1,400 professionals in engineering at its R&D facilities in and Mississauga, Ontario and Longueuil.

Inaugurated in 2011, the P&WC Mirabel Aerospace Centre, located near the Montréal-Mirabel International Airport, is currently supporting flight testing for the complete range of Pratt & Whitney engines, including turboprops and turbofans up to 90,000 lb of thrust. Assembly and test of the PurePower PW1524G for the Bombardier CSeries and the PurePower PW800 engine recently selected to power the Gulfstream G500 and G600 business jets will be performed at this facility. The new PW814GA and PW815GA engines are expected to be certified at the end of 2014.

"P&WC is a global company whose roots have been firmly established in Canada for more than 85 years," concluded John Saabas. "The investments announced today demonstrate our long-standing commitment to innovation and our ongoing determination to improve our technologies. They also emphasize P&WC's commitment to being a leader in the design, manufacture and maintenance of high-performance engines."