Pratt & Whitney is an American aircraft engine manufacturer of products widely used in both civil and military aircraft. 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 fixed gas turbines for industry and power generation, marine turbines, railway locomotive engines, and rocket engines.
The Pratt & Whitney Company was founded in 1860 by Francis Pratt and Amos Whitney, with headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. The company manufactured machine tools, tools for the makers of sewing machines, and gun-making machinery for use by the Union Army during the American Civil War.
In 1925, Frederick Rentschler approached Pratt & Whitney for funding and a location to build his new aircraft engine. Pratt & Whitney lent him $250,000, the use of the Pratt & Whitney name, and space in their building. This was the beginning of the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company. Pratt & Whitney's first engine, the Wasp, was completed on Christmas Eve 1925. It developed 425 horsepower (317 kW) on its third test run and 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.
In 1929, Rentschler ended his association with Pratt & Whitney Machine Tool and formed United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, the predecessor to United Technologies Corporation, Boeing Aircraft Company, and United Air Lines, Inc.. His agreement allowed him to carry the name with him to his new corporation.
What remains of the original Pratt & Whitney is Pratt & Whitney Measurement Systems, located in Bloomfield, Connecticut. However, for many years they maintained a plant on New Park Avenue near the Hartford/West Hartford border, where they manufactured machine tools such as their jig-bore machines and other numerically controlled machines. They also manufactured milling machines and twist drills.
On August 2, 2005, Pratt & Whitney acquired the space propulsion company Rocketdyne from Boeing and renamed the company Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc.
Pratt & Whitney is headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut and also has plants in Columbus, Georgia; Middletown, Connecticut;
Cheshire, Connecticut; West Palm Beach, Florida; and North Berwick, Maine.
Between 1967 and 1971, Pratt & Whitney turbine engines were used in American Championship Car Racing
and Formula One
. Parnelli Jones
's entry in the 1967 Indianapolis 500
dominated the race until a small part failed four laps from the finish. The following year, Team Lotus
entered a trio of 56s
at Indianapolis. Two of the 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.
Pratt & Whitney is a business unit of industrial conglomerate United Technologies
, making it a sister company to Sikorsky Aircraft
, Hamilton Sundstrand
, Otis Elevator Company
, UTC Fire & Security
and refrigeration giant Carrier Corporation
. It is also involved in two major joint ventures: the Engine Alliance
with GE; and International Aero Engines
company with Rolls-Royce, MTU Aero Engines
and the Japanese Aero Engines Corporation
. Those two joint ventures manufacture engines for the Airbus A380
and the Airbus A320
Pratt & Whitney's Large Commercial Engines (LCE) power more than 40 percent of the world’s passenger aircraft fleet and serve more than 800 customers in 160 countries.Global Material Solutions
Global Material Solutions (GMS) offer gas path and life limited parts for the CFM56
, which represents 90% of the material value of an average overhaul.Global Service Partners
Pratt & Whitney Global Service Partners (GSP) is a total service provider of 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.Military Engines
Pratt & Whitney's Military Engines power over 30 armed forces around the world. They are the engine manufacturer of choice for the F-15 Eagle
, F-16 Fighting Falcon
, C-17 Globemaster III
, F-22 Raptor
and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
. Pratt & Whitney Canada
Pratt & Whitney Canada
(PWC, originally United Aircraft of Canada) provides engines for business and regional aircraft, and helicopters. The company also offers advanced engines for industrial applications. P&WC's operations and service network span the globe. PWC designs and builds the smaller aircraft engines while P&W manufactures the larger ones.Space Propulsion
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
powers the Space Shuttle, supplies booster engines for Delta II rockets and boosters and upper stage engines for Atlas III and V and Delta IV rockets.Pratt & Whitney Power Systems
Pratt & Whitney Power Systems, Inc. (PWPS) designs, builds, furnishes and supports aero-derivative gas turbine power systems for customers worldwide. These industrial gas turbines provide power for everything from lighting cities to large ships. PWPS also provides parts and repairs for heavy-duty frame gas turbines as an OEM alternative.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
The Engine Alliance
is a joint venture between General Electric
and Pratt & Whitney. 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.
Civil turbine engines and applications
Military turbine engines and applications
Aeroderivative industrial & marine gas turbines
- FT8 - ~30MW derivative of JT8D
Engine Maintenance Systems
- Ecopower Services - Pratt and Whitney now markets a pressure-washing service that uses a high-pressure water spray run through several nozzles to clean grime and contaminants from jet engine parts, most notably turbine blades, which prevents over-heating, improves engine operating efficiency and reduces 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. Pratt and Whitney's customers include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Air India, Martinair, Singapore Airlines, Northwest Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.