Air International 1994-08
D.Richardson - Burning Desire for Power
The Klimov RD-33 powers all known versions of the MiG-29 Fulcrum. A development, designated RD-33/191 adopted by the Luftwaffe has an improved hot end which has increased the time between overhauls by 50%.
Through improved design and materials, higher operating temperatures, speeds and pressures, the F110-GE-129, otherwise known as the GE IPE (Improved Performance Engine), has a 30% thrust increase in certain conditions over the F110-GE-100. The F110-GE-129 first flew in an F-16C in 1988 and has been ordered by Turkey and selected for Japan’s FS- X.
Arguably one of the world’s most revolutionary (no pun intended) turbofans, the Rolls-Royce Pegasus 11-61 (F402-RR-408), seen here on the build-line at Bristol. This two-shaft turbofan powers all versions of the Harrier, providing both lift and propulsive thrust through four swivelling exhaust nozzles.
Shock diamonds from the Mirage 2000's Snecma M53-P2 in afterburner. This single-shaft bypass turbojet is in service with eight countries and is capable of propelling fighter aircraft to Mach 2.5 without any throttle limitations over the flight envelope.
Highest-thrust Western fighter engine is the Pratt & Whitney F119 two-shaft afterburning turbofan seen here in full afterburner with a generic two-dimensional nozzle, at Pratt & Whitney’s test facilities in West Palin Beach, Florida. Developed for the Lockheed F-22, the HP compressor has only six stages - four fewer than the F100, and three fewer than the F110. To further reduce the number of mechanical components, one of the goals of the ATF engine programme, the rotors are integrally bladed.
An interim improved version of the F-14, designated F-14B has been re-engined with GE F110-GE-400 turbofans. Developed by Grumman (prime contractor) and General Electric (subcontractor), this engine has 82% parts commonality with the F110-GE-100 in service with the USAF. A 1.27m plug has been inserted in the afterburner section to match the F-14A inlet position.
The Snecma M88 powers both the air force (C) and naval (M) versions of the Dassault Rafale. Improvements to the combustion chamber and low-pressure compressor have been funded, and a variant of the M88 is being offered for the Saab JAS 39 Gripen mid-life update.
New aircraft projects always entail an element of risk. This can be considerably compounded if the project necessitates parallel development of a power plant. It is testament to the Eurojet consortium that the EJ200, which will power Eurofighter 2000, has achieved all technical milestones to time and cost.
Taiwan's AIDC Ching-Kuo IDF (Indigenous Defensive Fighter) is powered by the Allied Signal TFE 1042-70. Fully modular, this engine has matured as a family of engines including the non-afterburning F124-GA-100 being offered as a direct replacement for the T-45 Goshawk's Adour Mk 871/F405.