A powerful engine for a powerful fighter

For the Next European Fighter Engine, MTU is harnessing a variable cyclic process that greatly reduces consumption while enhancing mission flexibility.

01.2021 | Text: Isabel Henrich

Isabel Henrich studied political science and communications. At MTU, she is responsible for organizing key aviation industry trade shows and for coordinating the topics featured in AEROREPORT.

Higher performance and flexibility, lower consumption: the requirements for a next-generation fighter aircraft have been clearly defined. Part of Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS), the first New Generation Fighter (NGF) is scheduled for takeoff in 2040 and will be required to demonstrate maximum performance in extreme situations.

A powerful fighter needs a powerful engine

Together with partners Safran Aircraft Engines in France and ITP in Spain, MTU Aero Engines will develop the centerpiece of the new European fighter aircraft: the Next European Fighter Engine (NEFE). When it comes to engine technology, the requirements for the NGF include innovative and advanced tools, processes and materials. MTU is paving the way for new design concepts by incorporating bionic design and utilizing new manufacturing processes—largely developed in-house—such as additive manufacturing. New materials, including high-temperature metallic monocrystalline and fiber-reinforced composites, enable the company to reduce component weight while supporting higher engine temperatures.

MTU is also aiming to significantly enhance the engine concept itself: a variable cycle engine (VCE) will deliver increased mission flexibility, low fuel consumption and maximum thrust.

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