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The Catalyst engine, produced by Avio Aero and GE Aviation, which was set up by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague, has achieved an extraordinary international success. After a tender process and an extensive phase of technical and economic analysis, Airbus Defense and Space chose the Eurodrone unmanned aerial system with the Catalyst engine. The result of the tender was announced by Airbus Defense and Space on Friday 25.3.2022.

Last year, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague announced that it was carrying out experiments on the Catalyst turboprop engine at its flight test facility in collaboration with the Czech branch of GE Aviation. Today, the Catalyst engine has been proven not only in ground tests, but also in flight, especially on flights in Berlin. European Avio Aero and GE Aviation teams from the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and Italy worked on creating the engine. Like the entire Eurodrone programme, the Catalyst engine was designed entirely outside ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulation). Seventeen engine prototypes have already been built, and over 3 000 hours of testing have taken place.  

"Six years ago, the government of the Czech Republic asked CTU to build up an ecosystem for aviation and space technologies based on ground turboprop engines and flying turboprop engines. CTU has had to boost its research and teaching competencies in order to develop the highly-specialized professional capacities and competencies necessary for the overall development of aviation and space activities in the Czech Republic. We have fulfilled this task, and today we are celebrating further results of these activities," says Michael Valášek, Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. He says that this may be a key point in the emergence of a new pillar of the Czech economy, alongside the automotive industry.  

"Winning this tender confirms the high level of research carried out at the Czech Technical University. And any fuel saving, especially at this time, is more than just an academic success," says CTU Rector Vojtěch Petráček.

"Catalyst was selected as the best solution based on outstanding performance, lower development risk, better operational economy and also growth potential," explains Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Air Force at Airbus Defense and Space.

Key considerations in the selection of Eurodrone are competitiveness, performance, the ability to meet demanding delivery schedules and the capacity to meet operational demand, and ensuring the sovereignty of the European defence industry.  

The Catalyst turboprop engine is the first completely redesigned turboprop engine in 30 years that has reduced fuel consumption by up to 20%, has increased thrust by 10%, and has extended service life by 30%.

It has now become clear that Catalyst has features, including low fuel consumption and also full digital control, using the FADEC system with integrated propeller control and power at altitude, that are also suitable for propelling drones.  The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of CTU has focused its attention on the design of the concept of the preventive maintenance system of the Catalyst engine, and on studying the impact of the use of sustainable SAF jet fuel on reducing particulate matter and gas emissions. Excellent results have been achieved in this field.



Contact person: 
Mgr. Ilona Chalupská