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Prvni brnenska strojirna Velka Bítes (PBS), a prominent Czech manufacturer of auxiliary power units (APUs), turbine engines, and aerospace equipment, announced on 28 August 2023 that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with leading US aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney (P&W).

The primary focus of the MoU is to leverage the unique strengths and expertise of both entities to identify and capitalise on emerging trends in APU development and to define a concept for a next-generation APU.

PBS and P&W expect that the new APU system will be designed to meet future fixed-wing and rotorcraft requirements. The scope will transcend traditional platforms, as it will be strategically tailored to accommodate the requirements of hybrid-electric propulsion systems. This adaptation will not only enhance its inherent versatility but also broaden its spectrum of potential applications.

PBS’s APU SPARK40 auxiliary power unit. The company is to work with Pratt & Whitney to develop a next-generation APU. (Photo: PBS)

“The joint efforts of PBS and P&W in exploring this next-generation APU mark a significant milestone for both companies,” PBS said in a press release. “With an anticipated unveiling timeframe of five years, it is expected that this pioneering APU will be positioned to redefine the benchmarks of aerospace propulsion technology.”

The company’s CEO, Milan Macholan, was quoted as saying, “This MoU marks our first stride in a collaborative journey between two visionary companies, dedicated to shaping the future of APU technology. Drawing from our experiences, we aim to pioneer a novel auxiliary power unit for the next generation. This innovation is set to redefine power density standards and drive the capabilities of sixth-generation aircraft systems.”

Emmy Guzmán, director and general manager of the APU and turbojet business for Pratt & Whitney, added, “Pratt & Whitney is excited for this opportunity to co-operate with PBS to explore development of a next-generation APU. P&W has had prior success with such relationships and the MoU provides a solid foundation for our teams to develop a product that may be broadly leveraged for aircraft auxiliary power and adjacent applications.”

Peter Felstead