The Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) program aims “to develop and demonstrate inlet, engine, exhaust nozzle, and integrated thermal management technologies that enable optimized propulsion system performance over a broad range of altitude and flight velocity.” That sounds boring, but what if we put it like this:
ADVENT aims to produce a revolution in jet engine design. Imagine the jet equivalent of a car engine that could give you Formula One performance or sub-compact mileage as required. ADVENT-equipped aircraft would have extra-long range, but be able to switch quickly to high-speed power maneuvers and still be comparatively efficient. The new engine design will use adaptive fan blades and engine cores to generate high thrust when needed, and optimize fuel efficiency when cruising or loitering, in order to combine the best characteristics of high-performance and fuel-efficient jet engines.
That certainly sounds much more exciting. Now, ADVENT also sounds very real – because the program is under way, with over $600 million in contracts to 4 different vendors… and 2 big losers.
GE Aviation won up to $325 million in additional funds in January 2015 to work on an adaptive cycle engine under phase three of the Versatile affordable advanced turbine engines (VAATE) program that preceded ADVENT.
In April, the Air Force also awarded a $325 million IDIQ contract to engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney for the Versatile Affordable Advanced Turbine Engines (VAATE) engine’s Phase III stage.