« PreviousContinue »
opment at a cost exceeding $1 billion. When this engine enters service on the Boeing 757 in 1984, it will be the most fuel efficient engine of its type in the world. A major portion of the fuel consumption improvement can be attributed directly to the E3 Program. To illustrate the competitive importance of that improvement, it means that the engine is approximately five to eight percent lower in fuel consumption than its only competitor for the 757, an engine manufactured in Great Britain. In addition, the E3 technology is also being applied to the new PW4000 family of engines, with a thrust range of 48,000 to 60,000 pounds, to be certificated in 1986.
In July 1981, NASA submitted an accelerated and enhanced Propfan Program to the House Committee on Science and Technology. This 198 million dollar program was designed to establish technology readiness by 1987 so industry would be able to develop propfan aircraft with 15 percent to 20 percent better fuel consumption than alternative contemporary turbofan aircraft. As I have indicated, industry must be ready for a market opportunity expected in the early 1990's when current short to medium range aircraft will need replacement.
As stated in our testimony last April, the ultimate Propfan fleet could save 5 billion to 6 billion gallons of fuel by the Year 2000, and more than 15 billion gallons of fuel over its service life, when compared to alternative new turbofans.
The only major program now being funded is the construction of the large scale propfan itself. The propfan is an 8- or 10-bladed, highly swept propeller which would enable propeller-driven aircraft to fly at the same speed as present turbofan aircraft. This high speed propeller is certainly the single most important thing to do in this area. However, this alone will not give U.S. industry sufficient technology in other related areas and therefore the confidence to proceed.
In addition to starting a flight test bed program and doing associated cabin acoustics work, there must be additional proof-of-concept programs. These would address such vital elements as the gearbox, pitch change system, propeller/engine control, and the propfan-inlet-compressor integration. Work on the technology of the Propfan itself is insufficient, without proof-of-concept on the balance of the propulsion system.
In our view, there should be about $20 million in 1984 devoted to enhance the program. This level of funding would make up some lost time and establish a credible technology program in line with the market requirement of the early 1990's
LARGE TURBOFAN PROGRAM RECOMMENDATIONS
To assure continuation of U.S. leadership in large turbofan engines, as well as engines for later generation turboprop applications, there should be a follow-on technology program, which we call Advanced Turbofan Research (ATR). Such a program would be evolutionary.
There should be long-term preliminary design studies projecting 10 to 20 years into the future. These are essential if we are to focus on and evaluate very advanced technology concepts. There already are such studies going on at NASA Lewis under the Energy Efficient Engine Program, but their continuation is in jeopardy because the proposed fiscal year 1984 Advanced Turbofan Research Program was dropped from the budget. Not only should these advanced requirements design studies be continued, they should be expanded. Their findings then should be used to plan and guide future basic propulsion research and technology component programs.
Our studies show that a vigorous, on-going technology program could lead to fuel consumption improvements of up to 20 percent for advanced turbofans and as much as 35 percent for the later generation Propfan for the 2000 to 2010 time period. These potential fuel consumption improvements are relative to the levels just established by NASA's E3 Program.
Pursuit of these studies should indicate where larger proof-of-concept programs should be focused to establish ultimately the technology readiness of new concepts. These concepts could be as effective in preparing the way for future developments as those arising from E3 and equally effective in maintaining U.S. leadership in the engine field. About $4 million should be made available in fiscal year 1984 to begin the initial phases of the important, far-term advanced turbofan and turboprop conceptual work.
NASA has traditionally provided a stimulus to the aeronautical industry by supporting high risk proof-of-concept work. This conceptual technology has shown the
way for industry to channel its development resources. Past and present testimony before this and other committees has provided evidence of NASA contributions to technology in aeronautics which benefited both commercial and military aviation. When proof-of-concept technology is available, industry is then able to assess development risks. As I said a year ago before this Committee, American industry has not lost its willingness to accept the responsibilities associated with the development of high technology, advanced new concepts and products for the market. The funds that the U.S. Government invests in aeronautics through NASA represents only 4 to 5 percent of the NASA budget and are highly leveraged.
Following NASA's proof-of-concept work, industry must invest, at great risk, more than 10 times as much of its own money to develop and market throughout the world new products incorporating the new technology. Ultimately the sales of these new products could exceed 100 times the original investment by NASA.
The NACA/NASA long-term partnership with industry in aeronautical research and technology has created an aviation industry in our country whose total output in 1981 exceeded $35 billion, and contributed a positive trade balance of $13 billion. If the U.S. is to sustain this position, we must maintain our world leadership in civil and military aviation technology. We think that the Administration's "Aeronautical Research and Technology Policy" is both forceful and wholly correct in recommending continues government support for aeronautical research and technology development and for military aeronautical technology demonstration, in the report's words, "consistent with overall government priorities and the availability of funds." NASA's proof-of-concept work and its interaction with industry play a vital role in this process.
[The following information was subsequently received for the record:]
QUESTIONS OF Senator Heflin and the AnswERS THERETO
Question 1. Setting aside questions of cost and risk, are the facilities and technical expertise within your corporation adequate to perform all the development effort and proof-of-concept which an aircraft manufacturer would need to enable his company to commit to development of a new transport incorporating your advanced turboprop propulsion system?
Answer. No. However, the facilities and technical expertise exist within the corporation to perform the development of a turboprop propulsion system once the appropriate technology is evaluated in proof-of-concept testing. The elements of technology which have to be evaluated are: Propeller structural integrity; large size reduction gear; fuselage noise treatment; propulsion system interaction (propfan/inlet/ engine); and propfan/aircraft aerodynamic integration.
An evaluation of the majority of these elements must include a propulsion and aircraft systems flight evaluation which requires the facilities and expertise of an aircraft manufacturer with the support of an engine manufacturer.
Question 2. Do you believe the existing anti-trust law and regulation would permit your company to select a U.S. airframe manufacturer to collaborate on a proprietary development which would encompass all the relevant technologies that extend beyond the range of your company's expertise?
Answer. We feel that existing anti-trust law and regulation would allow our corporation to collaborate with a Ū.S. airframe manufacturer to evaluate the relevant technologies identified in the response to question No. 1. These regulations could potentially, however, prevent us from working with a competitor to evaluate separate technology elements related to the propulsion system and sharing results.
Testimony given before the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space on April 1, 1982 is relevant to your question.
Wolfgang H. Demisch, (then) Vice President, Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. when discussing the NASA/industry partnership testified as follows:
Clearly this partnership works, and works well. It does so by efficiently linking NASA's technical talent, the country's best, to the industry's financial, marketing, and manufacturing skills. This separates the two major uncertainties in aerospace development, i.e., will it work and will it sell, and addresses each in the most efficient manner.
NASA is best positioned to address the technical uncertainties inherent in aerospace, the "will it work" part. Its infrastructure is the best in the business, and its personnel have the best overview of the technical options available to solve problems most efficiently. NASA can interact freely with both industry and the academic world. It receives problems and data both from the military and the commercial areas, and can cross fertilize between the disciplines in ways impossible to industry, where airframes, propulsion, and subsystems are generally split among several companies, which are mutually competitive, rather than positioned to share their insights or problems. Indeed, anti-trust restrictions would forbid such sharing. Dr. M. E. Shank, Director, Engineering-Technical, P&W Commercial Engineering, testified:
It is imperative that the U.S. maintain its position of world leadership in aeronautics. This will require (1) enormous private resources to finance high technology ventures and (2) a continuing ability to stave off government-supported foreign competition through U.S. leadership in technological achievement. Our government and industry must work together, more than ever, to maintain first place.
NASA has traditionally provided a stimulus to the aeronautical industry by supporting proof-of-concept work.
Question 3. If you were legally free to proceed in that fashion, would there still remain a vital role for NASA or any of its aeronautics research centers in the development and demonstration of advanced turboprop technology?
Answer. NASA's role is vital in providing the coordination and management of a proof-of-concept program needed to bring advanced turboprop technology to frui
OSTP published a report in November, 1982, titled "Aeronautical Research and Technology Policy," which identified national goals in aeronautics. For aeronautics R&T, the report stated that the role of NASA is to "Ensure the timely provision of a proven technology base to support future development of superior U.S. aircraft." NASA's effort on the turboprop clearly addresses this goal. Not only is early funding support necessary, but perhaps more important, with NASA coordination and management role "linking NASA's technical talent, the country's best to the industry's financial, marketing, and manufacturing skills * ** NASA can interact freely with both industry and the academic world" (1) and with their guidance, the technological risks can be minimized such that the enormous investment in propfan and propfan powered aircraft development can be made by U.S. industry with assurance of continued successful dominance of the world aircraft market. (1) Reference Demisch testimony of Question No. 2.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT C. HAWKins, Manager, ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY OPERATION, AIRCRAFT ENGINE BUSINESS GROUP, GENERAL ELECTRIC CO.
Mr. Chairman, my name is Robert Hawkins and I am the the manager of the advanced technology activities of the General Electric Aircraft Engine Group. We welcome the opportunity to appear here today.
There are several points that I would like to reinforce. We enjoy excellent relations with NASA at all levels in the planning and execution of aeropropulsion research programs. NASA gives us adequate opportunity to make our views known during the program formulation process and acts on those views in a responsive way. Therefore, we see no reason to reorder the program that NASA has presented to you within the stringent budget constraints placed upon them. The budget as presented will permit NASA and the aeronautics industry to make significant gains in technological capability. However, there are many other significant opportunities for advances that will not be exploited because of the tight budget constraints. Significantly greater budget authority will be required to exploit just the more critical of these opportunities for further advances.
Furthermore our analysis of the NASA and DOD budgets show a continuing decrease in the level of total government support for aeropropulsion research. This trend is particularly pronounced in work on subsonic transport propulsion systems. Such continued decline can only result in a deterioration of the U.S. pre-eminent position in aeropropulsion.
I would like now to offer a few comments on some of the opportunities that will not be exploited by this minimal NASA budget.
1. The Energy Efficient Engine program is a major milestone in aircraft engine technology. We have completed very successful tests on the core or high pressure section of the engine and will begin testing of the complete E3 engine next month. In spite of the outstanding success of this program the NASA budget does not permit the funding of follow-on work to improve further the turbofan engines of the future and to extend the E3 technology base.
2. Turboprop research has been fostered by this subcommittee and now the NASA efforts are showing very great promise. We endorse a broadening of the scope of the ground test program to include a broader range of advanced turboprop concepts such as counter-rotating systems. Turboprop research is now beginning to blossom and we should continue to push forward the technology on the broadest possible front.
3. Rotorcraft are increasingly important in military and civil applications. The state of development of rotorcraft is not nearly so advanced as it is for fixed-wing aircraft. That is true for the engines for these vehicles also. There are opportunities for significant gains in the component efficiencies of the various components of the engine designed for rotorcraft use.
4. Laminar flow research, although focused primarily on airframes, will also benefit installed propulsion system performance with the use of nacelles designed to maintain laminar flow and thereby to reduce aerodynamic draft.
In conclusion I want to reiterate first-our support for NASA's program as submitted to the Congress, second-our concern at the continued decline in overall government support of aeropropulsion research and third-the GE view that there are many excellent opportunities for technology advancements to improve the performance of propulsion systems that are not funded in NASA's or DOD's budgets as submitted.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The following information was subsequently received for the record:]
AIRCRAFT ENGINE BUSINESS GROUP,
Ranking Member, Subcommttee on Science, Technology and Space,
DEAR SENATOR HEFLIN: Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your questions regarding turboprops and the numerical aerodynamic simulator.
With respect to your first question on turboprops, let me point out that General Electric has been engaged in development and production of drive systems for helicopter rotors for quite a long time. The most recent engine that we have developed is the T-700, and we are in the process of certifying a turboprop derivative of this engine, which we call the CT-7. The CT-7 is planned for use as a turboprop propulsion system on commuter aircraft. We expect to continue to provide turboprop propulsion systems for a variety of aircraft. We anticipate that as technological advances are made by NASA, ourselves, and other industry groups, that turboprop propulsion systems will prove to be efficient on an ever broader range of aircraft. We have participated frequently with NASA over the past eight years, in the formulation and advocacy of advanced turboprop technology programs, and feel that all of industry will use whatever valid results are generated by the program.
With respect to your second question, NASA's program for a mumerical aerodynamic simulator (NAS) represents a major effort to accelerate efforts to increase the utility of the advanced computers in describing external (airplane) and internal (engine) aerodynamics. At General Electric we are increasing our use of the computer for many design and development tasks. Indeed, this is one of the major thrusts of our advanced engineering activities. We expect that the successful implementation of the numerical aerodynamic simulator program by NASA will have major benefits to General Electric and the aeronautics industry. We expect that there will be a steady stream of software advances that we will be able to utilize as early as one year after NAS project initiation.
Mr. SLADE GORTON,
R. C. HAWKINS.
AIRCRAFT ENGINE BUSINESS GROUP,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space,
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR GORTON: Thank you for the opportunity to expand further on our testimony to the Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space.
I am repeating your questions to us followed by our responses.
What work is being done in the Advanced Turbofan technology by private industry?
The General Electric Aircraft Engine Group is in the final stage of the NASA Energy Efficient Engines (E3) program. In that program we have demonstrated a number of advanced concepts which together can result in fuel consumption improvements in the range of 10-15 percent, depending upon the kind of mission. A 1015 percent improvement is a major step forward in turbofan technology. In addition, we now see the possibility of further advances in engine technology which will permit the historical rate of engine improvements to be sustained through another generation of aircraft engines. This steady rate of improvement is threatened by the downturn in NASA funding for advanced turbofan technology. NASA has assumed a leadership role within the federal government for technology advances in transport engine technology. It is very important that NASA be permitted to sustain its support of the transport engine industry with adequate funding from the Congress. Is the development of the Advanced Turbofan critical to the civil aircraft industry now?
The lead time from initial concept to application in transport engines is five years or more. Our business projections lead us to conclude that the next round of new transport engine developments will occur in the late 80's and early 90's. With this timing of new products it is imperative that technology advancements be pursued vigorously now so that these advanced ideas will be proven and ready for use in the next generation of engines expected at the end of this decade.
What benefits would the air transport industry receive from a serious level of effort by NASA in Advanced Turbo technology?