Russia gearing up for 35-ton turbofan engine

Photo by Aviadvigatel

Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC) is gearing up for developing high-thrust turbofan engines for future commercial airliners. In particular, the Perm-based Aviadvigatel enterprise (an UEC subsidiary) is looking into the possibility of upscaling the core of the new PD-14 engine, UEC deputy chief designer Victor Belousov told the Aircraft Engines Of The 21st Century conference recently held at the Central Institute for Aviation Motors (TsIAM).

The PD-14, with its 14-ton nominal thrust, was developed for Russia’s Irkut MC-21 next-generation narrowbody aircraft. The engine commenced flight tests on an Ilyushin I-76LL flying testbed in late October.

It is, however, the 35-ton PD-35 that will become the baseline model for the new enlarge family of powerplants, says Igor Maximov, the PD family chief designer at the development and prouction plant Aviadvigatel. For that new powerplant, the core of the PD-14 will received an additional stage at the discharge of the high-pressure compressor. As a result, the total number of stages at the PD-35 compressor and turbine will be 9+2, and the high-pressure compressor intake diameter will be 815 mm, as compared to the PD-14’s 582 mm. The engine’s fan diameter will reportedly be 3,100 mm; the engine will be over 8 m long, and will weigh around 8 tons.

At least two more powerplants will be developed from the PD-35: the 28-ton PD-28 and the 24-ton PD-24. The larger two of the engine family will be offered for next-generation two- and four-engine widebodies, whereas the smallest one will be mounted on short-haul widebody airliners and a heavy military transport, says Aviadvigatel’s presentation.

One feasible application for the smallest of the powerplants would be the widebody airliner under joint development by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and China’s COMAC. The 280-seat aircraft, codenamed C929, is scheduled to make its maiden flight in 2021 and enter service in 2025.

Belousov notes that a similar powerplant program is being looked into at Samara-based Kuznetsov Company (also part of UEC), which is considering developing engines with up to 35 t thrust from the NK-32 turbojet engine currently powering Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers. According to Belousov, both companies are looking at the classic layout and the geared-turbofan possibility.

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