Pratt & Whitney

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Pratt & Whitney
Industry Aerospace
Founded 1925
Headquarters East Hartford, Connecticut
Key people
Paul Adams, President
Products Aircraft engines
Gas turbines
Revenue US$ 14.5 billion (2013)[1]
US$ 1.9 billion (2013)
Parent United Technologies Corporation
Divisions Pratt & Whitney Canada

Pratt & Whitney is an American aerospace manufacturer with global service operations. It is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Pratt & Whitney's aircraft engines are widely used in both civil aviation (especially airlines) and military aviation. Its headquarters are in East Hartford, Connecticut.[2] As one of the "big three" aero-engine manufacturers, it competes with General Electric and Rolls-Royce, although it has also formed joint ventures with both of these companies. In addition to aircraft engines, Pratt & Whitney manufactures gas turbines for industrial and power generation, and marine turbines. As of 2014, the company reported having 31,500 employees supporting more than 11,000 customers in 180 countries around the world. In 2013, Pratt & Whitney's revenue totaled $14.5 billion.[1]


Early history

In April 1925, Frederick Rentschler, an Ohio native and former executive at Wright Aeronautical, was determined to start an aviation-related business of his own.[3] His social network included Edward Deeds, another prominent Ohioan of the early aviation industry, and Frederick's brother Gordon Rentschler, both of whom were on the board of Niles Bement Pond, then one of the largest machine tool corporations in the world. Frederick Rentschler approached these men as he sought capital and assets for his new venture. Deeds and G. Rentschler persuaded the board of Niles Bement Pond that their Pratt & Whitney Machine Tool (P&WMT) subsidiary of Hartford, Connecticut, should provide the funding and location to build a new aircraft engine being developed by Rentschler, George J. Mead, and colleagues, all formerly of Wright Aeronautical.[3] Conceived and designed by Mead,[3] the new engine would be a large, air-cooled, radial design. Pratt & Whitney Machine Tool was going through a period of self-revision at the time to prepare itself for the post–Great War era, discontinuing old product lines and incubating new ones.[3] The Great War had been profitable to P&WMT, but the peace brought a predictable glut to the machine tool market, as contracts with governments were canceled and the market in used, recently built tools competed against new ones. P&WMT's future growth would depend on innovation. Having idle factory space and capital available at this historical moment, to be invested wherever good return seemed available,[3] P&WMT saw the postwar aviation industry, both military and civil (commercial, private), as one with some of the greatest growth and development prospects available anywhere for the next few decades. It lent Rentschler $250,000, the use of the Pratt & Whitney name, and space in their building. This was the beginning of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company.[3] Pratt & Whitney Aircraft's first engine, the 425 horsepower (317 kW) R-1340 Wasp, was completed on Christmas Eve 1925. On its third test run it easily passed the Navy qualification test in March 1926; by October, the Navy had ordered 200. The Wasp exhibited performance and reliability that revolutionized American aviation.[3] The R-1340 powered the aircraft of Wiley Post, Amelia Earhart, and many other record flights.

The R-1340 was followed by another very successful engine, the R-985 Wasp Junior.[4] Eventually a whole Wasp series was developed. Both engines are still in use in agricultural aircraft around the world and produce more power than their original design criteria. (Replacement parts for both engines are still in production and it is theoretically possible to assemble a new engine from the parts.)

George Mead soon led the next step in the field of large, state-of-the-art, air-cooled, radial aircraft engines (which the Wasp dominated) when Pratt & Whitney released its R-1690 Hornet. It was basically "a bigger Wasp".

In 1929, Rentschler ended his association with Pratt & Whitney Machine Tool and merged Pratt & Whitney Aircraft with Boeing and other companies to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation. His agreement allowed him to carry the Pratt & Whitney name with him to his new corporation.


In October 2014, Pratt & Whitney was awarded a $592 million contract with US Defense Department to supply 36 F135 engines for the F-35 fighter.[5]


Headquarters on Main Street in East Hartford

Pratt & Whitney is headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut and also has plants in Columbus, Georgia; Middletown, Connecticut; Dallas, Texas; West Palm Beach, Florida, North Berwick, Maine; and Bridgeport, West Virginia.

The home stadium for the University of Connecticut Huskies football team, Rentschler Field, is located adjacent to Pratt & Whitney's East Hartford, Connecticut campus, on Pratt's company-owned former airfield of the same name. In 2015, the stadium was renamed to Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in time for the 2015-2016 University of Connecticut football season.


Pratt & Whitney is a business unit of industrial conglomerate United Technologies, making it a sister company to UTC Aerospace Systems (Hamilton Sundstrand), Otis Elevator Company, UTC Fire & Security, UTC Power and refrigeration giant Carrier Corporation. It is also involved in two major joint ventures, the Engine Alliance with GE which manufactures engines for the Airbus A380, and International Aero Engines company with Rolls-Royce, MTU Aero Engines, and the Japanese Aero Engines Corporation which manufactures engines for the Airbus A320 and the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 aircraft.

Commercial engines

Pratt & Whitney's large commercial engines power more than 25 percent of the world’s passenger aircraft fleet and serve more than 800 customers in 160 countries. With more than 16,000 large commercial engines installed today, Pratt & Whitney provides power to hundreds of airlines and operators, from narrow-bodied airplanes to wide-bodied jumbo jetliners. In June 2007, Pratt & Whitney’s fleet of large commercial engines surpassed 1 billion flight hours of service.

Global Material Solutions

Pratt & Whitney’s Global Material Solutions (GMS) makes parts for the CFM56 engine thus giving customers an alternative in new CFM56 engine materials. In addition to engine parts, GMS provides customers with fleet management and customized maintenance service programs. United Airlines was the GMS launch customer.[6]

GMS received its first part certification in July 2007, when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) certification for the GMS high pressure turbine (HPT) shroud for the CFM56-3 engine. In March 2008, the FAA certified the GMS fan and booster with a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) with FAA Chapter 5 life limits equal to the original type certificate holder. The STC was the first FAA certification ever granted for alternative life-limited engine parts. In May 2008, Global Material Solutions received FAA STCs for its remaining life limited parts for CFM56-3 engines.[7]

Global Service Partners

Pratt & Whitney Global Service Partners (GSP) offers overhaul, maintenance and repair services for Pratt & Whitney, International Aero Engines, General Electric, Rolls-Royce, and CFMI engines. In addition to engine overhaul and repair services, GSP provides services including line maintenance, engine monitoring and diagnostics, environmentally friendly on-wing water washes, leased engines, custom engine service programs and new and repaired parts.

Pratt & Whitney maintains one of the largest service center networks in the world, with more than 40 engine overhaul and maintenance centers located around the globe.

Military Engines

Pratt & Whitney's Military Engines power 27 air forces around the globe, with nearly 11,000 military engines in service with 23 customers in 22 nations. Pratt & Whitney military engines include the F135 for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), the F119 for the F-22 Raptor, the F100 family that powers the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcon, the F117 for the C-17 Globemaster III, the J52 for the EA-6B Prowler, the TF33 powering E-3 AWACS, E-8 Joint STARS, B-52, and KC-135 aircraft, and the TF30 for the F-111. In addition, Pratt & Whitney offers a global network of maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities and military aviation service centers focused on maintaining engine readiness for their customers.

Pratt & Whitney Canada

Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC), originally Canadian Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, and later United Aircraft of Canada, provides a large range of products, including turbofan, turboprop and turboshaft engines targeted for the regional, business, utility and military aircraft and helicopter markets. The company also designs and manufactures engines for auxiliary power units and industrial applications. Its headquarters are located in Longueuil, Quebec (just outside Montreal).

Speaking to Reuters June 16, 2013 ahead of the Paris Airshow 2013 Pratt & Whitney President David Hess said he was confident that Canada would decide to stick with the F-35 program despite its recent discussions about having a new competition. If the orders did shift to another company, Pratt & Whitney could decide to move some of the industrial base work it is currently doing in Canada, Hess said. "We might reallocate the work elsewhere," he said, adding that reduced order volumes would likely trigger changes in Canada.

The division admitted in July 2012 to providing engines and engine software for China's first attack helicopter, the Z-10. This violated U.S. export laws and resulted in a multimillion-dollar fine.[8]

Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion

Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion consisted of liquid space propulsion at the Liquid Space Propulsion Division (West Palm Beach, FL) and solid rocket propulsion at the Chemical Systems Division (San Jose, CA), as well as refurbishment and integration of the non-motor elements of the Space Shuttle's solid rocket boosters at the USBI Co. Division (NASA Kennedy Space Center, FL). Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion provided advanced technology solutions to commercial, government and military customers for more than four decades. Products included the RL10, the upper stage rocket engine used on the Boeing Delta and Lockheed Martin Atlas rockets, high-pressure turbopumps for the Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) and the RD-180 booster engine, offered by RD Amross, a partnership between Pratt & Whitney and NPO Energomash of Russia, for the Atlas III and V programs. The West Palm Beach site consisted of an engineering division and manufacturing division which designed and manufactured the high-pressure turbopumps(Fuel and Lox) for the Space Shuttle's Main Engines (SSME) which were manufactured by the former Rocketdyne Corporation.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) was formed in 2005 when Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion and Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power were merged following the latter's acquisition from Boeing.

P&W Rocketdyne engines powered the Space Shuttle, and the company also supplies booster engines for Delta II rockets and boosters and upper stage engines for Atlas III and V and Delta IV rockets.

In 2013, PWR was sold to GenCorp, which merged it with Aerojet to become Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Pratt & Whitney Power Systems

Pratt & Whitney Power Systems (PWPS) designs, builds, furnishes and supports aero-derivative gas turbine and geothermal power systems for customers worldwide. These industrial gas turbines power everything from small businesses to small cities. PWPS’ industrial turbines not only generate electrical power, but provide variable speed mechanical drive for marine propulsion, gas compression, and liquid pumping. PWPS has over 2,000 industrial gas turbines installed in more than 40 countries worldwide. PWPS also provides parts and repairs for heavy-duty frame gas turbines as an OEM alternative.[9]

In May 2013, United Technologies Corporation (UTC) sold its Pratt & Whitney Power Systems unit to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI).[10]

International Aero Engines

International Aero Engines is a joint venture that develops, builds and services the V2500 aero engine family, which powers the Airbus A320 family and McDonnell Douglas MD-90 aircraft. The four engine manufacturers that make up IAE each contribute an individual module to the V2500 engine. Pratt & Whitney produces the combustor and high-pressure turbine, Rolls-Royce the high-pressure compressor, JAEC the fan and low-pressure compressor and MTU the low-pressure turbine.

Engine Alliance

Engine Alliance, a 50/50 joint venture between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, was formed in August 1996 to develop, manufacture, and support a family of modern technology engines for new high-capacity, long-range aircraft.[11] The main application is the GP7200, which has been designed for use on the Airbus A380. It competes with the Rolls-Royce Trent 900, the launch engine for the aircraft.

The first GP7200-powered Airbus A380 entered service with Emirates on August 1, 2008 on a non-stop flight from Dubai to New York City.[12]


Between 1967 and 1971, Pratt & Whitney turbine engines were used in American Championship Car Racing and Formula One. The STP-Paxton Turbocar dominated the 1967 Indianapolis 500 until a transmission bearing failed four laps from the finish. STP entered four Lotus 56s in the 1968 Indianapolis 500. One car crashed during qualifying. Two of the remaining cars qualified fastest and second fastest, but all three retired from the race. Turbine cars were deemed illegal before the following year's race, so Lotus chief Colin Chapman developed the car for use in Formula One and an updated 56B competed in half a dozen Formula One races in 1971.


Reciprocating engines

Turbojet engines

Turbofan engines

TF33s of a C-141 Starlifter leave contrails over Antarctica
F-22 showing F119 (PW5000) engines in afterburner

Turboprop/turboshaft engines

Aeroderivative industrial and marine gas turbines

Engine Maintenance Systems

Pratt & Whitney now markets its Ecopower pressure-washing service, which uses a high-pressure water spray run through several nozzles to clean grime and contaminants from jet engine parts, most notably turbine blades, to prevent overheating, improve engine operating efficiency and reduce fuel burn. The system collects the runoff from the washing process for appropriate disposal. The washing is accomplished at the airport tarmac in about one hour. Customers include United Airlines, Air India, Martinair, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and JetBlue.[16][17][18][19][20]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Company Profile," Pratt & Whitney. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  2. "Contact Us." Pratt & Whitney. Retrieved on January 7, 2011. "Corporate Headquarters Pratt & Whitney 400 Main Street East Hartford, CT 06108."
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Fernandez 1983, pp. 23–53, Chapter 2.
  4. Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, p. 112, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  5. "Pratt & Whitney signs $592 million deal with Pentagon for next F-35 engines" (Press release). Reuters. 14 October 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. “Pratt & Whitney Boldly Enters PMA Parts Manufacturing Market”, Aviation Maintenance, April 1, 2006.
  7. “Pratt & Whitney Global Material Solutions Program on Track for Part Certifications”, Pratt & Whitney Press Release, July 15, 2008.
  8. Toombs, Zach (6 July 2012). "Atlantic Magazine". Retrieved 7/8/12. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Pratt & Whitney Power Systems Enters Into a Parts Agreement with Los Angeles Department of Water and Power", PWPS press release, Feb. 11, 2008.
  10. "United Technologies Completes Divestiture of Pratt & Whitney Power Systems Unit to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries", Pratt and Whitney Press Release, May 17, 2013.
  11. "A380 makes first U.S. stop on preparatory tour", Associated Press, Oct. 2, 2007, Stephanie Reitz.
  12. "GE/P&W GP7200 To Debut on Emirates A380", Aviation International News, July 17, 2008.
  13. Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 112, 120, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  14. Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, p. 46, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  15. Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, p. 55, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  16. Engine Washing Cuts Airline Fuel Costs, Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2008, p.B1
  17. Pratt & Whitney EcoPower Services web page, Pratt & Whitney
  18. "United Airlines to Save on Fuel and Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions", United Airlines Ecopower Press Release, June 11, 2008.
  19. "Southwest Airlines to Save Millions in Fuel Costs and Significantly Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions with Pratt & Whitney EcoPower Engine Wash Services", Southwest Airlines Ecopower Press Release, June 11, 2008.
  20. "JetBlue Airways Signs Pratt & Whitney EcoPower(R) Engine Wash". Reuters. June 15, 2009. Retrieved 2012-02-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Fernandez, Ronald (1983), Excess profits: the rise of United Technologies, Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 9780201104844.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Neumann, Gerhard (2004) [1984], Herman the German: Just Lucky I Guess, Bloomington, IN, USA: Authorhouse, ISBN 1-4184-7925-X. A republishing of the 1984 memoir titled Herman the German: Enemy Alien U.S. Army Master Sergeant [Morrow, New York, NY, USA], with a new title but with minor or no textual changes.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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