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PD-30: future Russian thirty-tonner

PD30futureRussianthirtytonnerThe Samara Kuznetsov JSC, a subsidiary of the United Engine Corporation (UEC), known for its powerful engines mounted by long-range bombers, is running pilot work on an advanced turbofan with a thrust of 30 tf for airliners and freighters, designated as PD-30. In the future, such an engine could power future passenger and cargo planes, being developed under the Aircraft 2020 programme, and the upgraded Antonov An-124-300 Ruslan heavylifter as well.


To date, the most powerful commercial turbofan in the former Soviet states is the Ivchenko-Progress D-18T with a thrust of 23.4 tf. It is built by MOTOR SICH company in Zaporozhye, Ukraine. Russia has no higher-thrust engine, though the need of it has been for long. As far back as the 1990s, Kuznetsov designed the NK-44 turbofan with a thrust of about 40 tf. At the time, the economic situation prevented the development to be completed. Several years ago, there were reports of the second attempt – the commencement of the work on the NK-65 engine with a thrust of 18–30 tf. It was admitted that developing an engine from scratch would be long and very expensive. Therefore, the developer emphasised using the backlog available – the upgraded NK-32 afterburning turbofan’s core and the experience drawn from the long-suffering NK-93 – but also using advanced technologies, materials and a digital design system.

Now, the company is trying to address the problem yet again. According to Kuznetsov General Designer Dmitry Fedorchenko, the PD-30 design is a derivative of the NK-65. Its development is not overly ambitious: the PD-30 is only to achieve ‘up-to-date’ characteristics and be on a par with such foreign analogues, as the Rolls-Royce Trent, General Electric GEnx and CF6-80E1, GP7270, PW4460, etc.

To reduce risks, R&D costs and development time and optimise full-scale production, Kuznetsov is going to use its gearbox and low-emission combustor technology advance and take the production NK-32’s modified core as a basis of the future design. The government ordered a resumption of the full-rate production of the NK-32 in support of the Defence Ministry, but the volume of production required is small, which will make the use of its core under other programmes, particularly, the PD-30, come in handy.

“The PD-30 engine will have the bypass design with the gearbox and split exhaust in the ducts”, said Dmitry Fedorchenko. “The modification of the core engine should be aimed at ensuring the stated parameters, including a considerable increase in the gas-dynamic characteristics of the blade units. In the course of the modification, the low-pressure turbine and compressor, gearbox, single-stage fan and control, monitoring and diagnostic system are designed anew. The gearbox will ensure the optimal revolutions of the fan and low-pressure turbine and also transfer the power to the fan by means of the shaft of the low-pressure turbine inside the medium-pressure turbine”.

According to the design data released during the Engines 2012 salon in April, the PD-30 will have a takeoff thrust of 29,500 kgf along with a bypass ratio of 8.7, an airflow rate of 1,138 kg/s and an inlet air temperature of 1,570K. The specific fuel burn will equal 0.535 kg/kgf*h in cruising mode (H=11 km, M=0.76). According to the requirements specification, the PD-14 fan diameter measures 2,950 mm, and the weight of the engine without its reverser accounts for 5,140 kg. The design and technological solutions implemented in the PD-30 include the use of blisk technologies in the high- and medium-pressure compressors, monocrystal cast blades of the high- and medium-pressure turbines, hollow fan and low-pressure turbine blades, etc.

The development of the PD-30 is planned to build on the expertise resultant from the development of another advanced Russian engine, the PD-14. To manufacture the engine demonstrator and then run the production of the PD-30, proposals have been made to subcontract other Russian companies, e.g. UMPO, Salut, NPO Saturn, Aviadvigatel, etc.

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