Commercial and military engines of the future
As things stand, there is no viable alternative to the gas turbine as a propulsion system for passenger aircraft—and none forthcoming in the foreseeable future. Instead, the trend is toward engines with larger fans, which greatly improve propulsion efficiency. But in the drive to boost overall efficiency, pressures and temperatures in the core engine are also set to rise. In line with these developments, MTU is designing and developing new materials, coatings and innovative production techniques.
Integrated engines, highly efficient heat engines, variable cycle technology, waste-heat recuperation, combined processes and hybrid elements can all deliver further improvements. MTU is also pursuing a number of new technical approaches including, for example, electric propulsion systems and the development of alternative fuels.
In the military arena, too, the trend towards higher pressures and temperatures in the engine will continue; new materials and production techniques are paving the way for more efficient and durable engines in this sector as well. The new European fighter jet could provide the springboard for this technological development in military propulsion. According to current plans, it is expected to enter service in 2040. As a next-generation fighter jet, the aircraft will need a suitably efficient propulsion system, which is reflected in typical engine parameters such as robustness and reliability, and an improved thrust-to-weight ratio. Other key factors include low development and production costs, efficient maintenance, and long and projectable maintenance intervals. Another consideration is that the digital environment of the future will add new, stringent requirements concerning, for instance, the integration of radar signature aspects and the electric power offtake.
Here, too, MTU is bringing its comprehensive engine expertise to the table. The company is fully committed to helping develop and build the new European jet engine and, to this end, is heavily involved in the associated European studies.