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Pratt & Whitney

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Pratt & Whitney
Pratt & Whitney logo
Type Subsidiary of UTC
Founded 1860
Headquarters East Hartford, Connecticut
Key peopleSteven Finger, President
ProductsAircraft engines
Gas turbines
Spacecraft propulsion
WebsitePratt & Whitney

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.


Original Pratt & Whitney logo

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 looking for funds and a location to build his new aircraft engine. Pratt & Whitney loaned 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. The Wasp developed 425 horsepower (317 kW) on its third test run. It easily passed the Navy qualification test in March 1926, and by October the Navy had ordered 200 engines. The Wasp exhibited speed, climb, 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 today's United Technologies Corporation. His agreement allowed Rentschler 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. It was there where they manufactured machine tools such as their jig-bore machine 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.

In motorsport

Between 1967 and 1971, Pratt & Whitney turbine engines were used in Champ Car Racing and Formula One. Parnelli Jones' 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 Lotus 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 respectively.

Commercial Engines

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) will 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 powering 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 engines.

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 to customers worldwide. These industrial gas turbines power everything from lighting cities to powering 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 A380. It competes with the Rolls-Royce Trent 900, the launch engine for the aircraft.


Civil turbine engines and applications

TF33s of a C-141 Starlifter leave contrails over Antarctica

In development

Military turbine engines and applications

F-22 showing F119 engines in afterburner

Rocket engines

Reciprocating engines

Aeroderivative industrial & marine gas turbines

  • FT4
  • FT8 - ~30MW derivative of JT8D

External links

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pratt & Whitney".