A US company which designs and manufactures engines for civilan and military aircraft, propulsion systems for space vehicles and industrial gas turbines. Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corporation, alongside a.o. Sikorsky Helicopters and Hamilton Sundstrand aerospace systems.
Pratt & Whitney's headquarters are in East Hartford, Connecticut, USA. This is where most of the aircraft engines are manufactured. The Space Propulsion HQ is located in Palm Beach, Florida and their turboprop division is in Longueuil, Canada.
The company was founded in 1860 by Francis Pratt and Amos Whitney. During the civil war in North America, they manufactured guns and gun making machinery. In 1860 there were no standard for the commercial inch, so manufacturing interchangeable parts were difficult. Pratt & Whitney were among the pioneers in developing methods of precise manufacturing. Their most succesful product before the advent of aircraft engines was millers for planing metal.
In 1879, P&W employees William Rogers and George Bond began developing a machine that would later establish "the standard inch".
In 1889 P&W patented the first coin-operated telephone in the world.
In 1925, Pratt & Whitney loaned USD 250.000, their company name and building space to Frederick Brant Rentschler who were looking for funding and a place to build his aircraft engine. On Christmas Eve 1925 the first Pratt & Whitney aircraft engine was completed; an air-cooled radial engine yielding 425hp. It was called "Wasp" and 200 were ordered by the US Navy for use in their aircraft.
Frederick Brant Rentschler ended his association with Pratt & Whitney in 1929, but under the agreement he had made he was allowed to continue using the Pratt & Whitney name for his engines. He went on to form United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, the predecessor to today's United Technologies Corporation.
Pratt & Whitney engines today power more than half the fleet of the world's airliners, as well as large numbers of military jet aircraft. The future fighters of the USAF; the F-22 Raptor and the Joint Strike Fighter will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines F119 and F135 respectively..
Some of Pratt & Whitney's engines
This is by no means a complete list. P&W jet and piston engines have been used in nearly all US military aircraft since the late 1920's.
- J57. Found in a.o. F-100 Super Sabre, F-101 Voodoo, F-102 Delta Dagger, B-52 Stratofortress, Lockheed U-2, Boeing 707 and the McDonnel Douglas DC-8.
- J75. Installed in the F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, the Lockheed U-2A and many others.
- J52. Found in the A-6 Intruder and the A-4 Skyhawk
- J58. Powers the SR-71 Blackbird
- R-1830 Twin Wasp. Used in the Douglas DC-3 (C-47 Dakota), the B-25 Mitchell and many others.
- R-2800 Double Wasp. Powered a.o. the P-61 Black Widow, P-47 Thunderbolt, F6F Hellcat and the F4U Corsair.
- R-1690 Hornet. Some variants of the German FW-200 Condor and Ju-52 had respectively four and three of these each.
- F-100. Powers the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F-15 Eagle.
At the time of writing, Louis Chênevert, Robert F. Leduc and Stephen N. Finger is the troika leading the company.