WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Registration is now open for the $2 million Air Force Prize that will be awarded to the first entrant to successfully develop a small, lightweight, fuel-efficient turbine engine.
“In order to continue to move forward and to ensure that our Air Force has the best technology available, it is imperative that we collaborate with industry and academia,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James at the Bending the Cost Curve summit on 14 Jan 15. “The Air Force Prize is an exciting step in the right direction to encourage this kind of innovation.”
The Air Force Prize is designed to spark American ingenuity by inviting a wide audience to compete and encourage innovative solutions to Air Force mission requirements beyond typical acquisition programs. “Recent advances in materials and manufacturing techniques hold extraordinary promise for someone with a great idea and the ability to make it a reality,” says Lt Col Aaron Tucker, Program Manager of the Air Force Prize. “Rapid prototyping techniques like 3D printing can help produce a turbine engine that meets the performance criteria.”
The objective of the Air Force Prize is to spark development of a new kind of turbine engine with the fuel efficiency of a piston engine and the low weight and durability of a turbine engine.
A successful 100-horsepower turboshaft engine must operate on Jet A fuel, demonstrate a brake-specific fuel consumption less than or equal to 0.55 pounds of fuel per horsepower per hour, and generate at least 2.0 horsepower per pound.
A team with the ingenuity to create this engine can submit performance data to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). A verification test will be completed in an AFRL test facility before the prize money is awarded. Detailed rules and performance criteria are available at www.airforceprize.com.