The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne a contract, with a value up to $1 million, to design an engine for the Transformer (TX), a vertical take-off and landing, road-worthy concept study vehicle. 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.
The engine design will use technology from the EnduroCORE engine—an air-cooled Wankel engine prototype—developed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. 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.
The EnduroCORE engine is 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. 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.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.