Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is on track to certify the PW800 by the end of December, says company president John Saabas. Officially unveiling the engine here at the NBAA convention, Saabas says the 16,000-pounds-thrust powerplant will provide the jumping-off point for a new family of business jet engines covering the 12,000-pounds-thrust to 20,000-pounds-thrust range.

Based around the high-pressure core of the PW1500G geared turbofan (GTF) now in flight test on Bombardier’s CSeries airliner, the low-pressure system is configured for the higher-cruise-altitude, higher-relative-takeoff thrust-design requirements of the Gulfstream G500 and G600 ultra-long-range business jets for which it was launched. Tested in relative secrecy, the PW800 is the largest turbofan ever developed by P&WC and ran for the first time in April 2012. The engine made its debut on the company’s Boeing 747SP flying testbed in April 2013, and has so far accumulated 255 flight test hours. Overall, the engine has amassed 2,500 hours and some 4,000 operating cycles.

P&WC originally based the PW800 around the smaller core of the PW1200G GTF then in initial development for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, when it was first selected for the Cessna Citation Columbus. However when Cessna axed the Columbus in 2009, P&WC upped the power level to suit the emerging “10K” 10,000-pounds-plus-thrust market and sized the engine around the more suitable PW1500G. However, Saabas says the development effort behind the original PW800 helped boost Gulfstream’s confidence in the overall program. Other factors that weaned Gulfstream away from its more than 60-year-long association with Rolls-Royce, which until the G500/600 was the exclusive engine provider, were the parallel development of the related PW1000G GTF series and the establishment of P&WC’s new engine assembly site in Mirabel, Quebec.