J46-WE-8 cutaway
Type Afterburning Turbojet
National origin United States
Manufacturer Westinghouse Aviation Gas Turbine Division
Major applications Convair F2Y Sea Dart
Vought F7U Cutlass
Developed from Westinghouse J34

The Westinghouse J46 is an afterburning turbojet engine developed by the Westinghouse Aviation Gas Turbine Division for the United States Navy in the 1950s. It was primarily employed in powering the Convair F2Y Sea Dart and Vought F7U Cutlass. The engine also powered the land speed-record car known as the Wingfoot Express, designed by Walt Arfons and Tom Green[1][2] It was intended to power the F3D-3, an improved, swept-wing variant of the Douglas F3D Skyknight, although this airframe was never built.[3]

Design and development

The J46 engine was developed as a larger, more powerful version of Westinghouse's J34 engine, about 50% larger. The Westinghouse model number was a continuation of the "X24C" series of the J34. The model number assigned was X24C10, even though the J46 differed in many design features from the smaller J34. It was seen as a lower development risk than the Westinghouse J40 which was in parallel development at the same time.

The development program ran into many problems with this engine, including the original electronic control system, compressor/turbine mismatches, combustion instability and control issues at altitude leading to compressor stalling The produced -8, -8A and -8B engines were all derated from the original design specification on both thrust and specific fuel consumption.[4]

The engine's 12-stage compressor was driven by two turbine stages on a single shaft. Early development engines included a simple "eyelid" afterburner, actuated by control rods that ran the length of the engine. By the time the engine reached production, the rear nozzle had an iris-type "petal" design. The same long control rods now pushed or pulled a ring that ran on rollers, which in turn opened or closed the iris. The original design, using an electronic control system, would have allowed continuous adjustment of afterburner thrust from minimum to maximum. This was abandoned when the electronic control could not be made acceptably reliable; the final afterburner was an "ON/OFF" unit.


Maintenance on the J46s of a F7U Cutlass aboard USS Hancock (CVA-19), 1957
3,980 lbf (18.15 kN) thrust[5] Was to be used the Douglas X-3 Stiletto. Failed to exit testing due to thrust shortfalls.
3,980 lbf (20.02 kN) thrust[5] The non-A/B version of the J46-WE-2/-8B. Intended for the Douglas F3D-3 SkyKnight but did not go into production because of schedule slippage and the F3D-3 cancellation.
3,980 lbf (20.46 kN) (5,800 lbf (27.13 kN) thrust with afterburner)[5] This variant powered both the F7U-3 and F7U-3M, the missile-capable Cutlass.
This variant powered the F7U-3 Cutlass and produced 5,500/5,800 lbf of A/B thrust. All -8A engines were upgraded to the -8B build standard after being produced.
The F7U-3 was equipped with two J46-WE-8B turbojets giving a 680 mph (1,095 km/h) max speed.[6] This variant also powered the Harvey Hustler, a speed boat designed to go faster than 275 mph.[7]
This variant powered the F2Y Sea Dart hydroski aircraft. Basically identical to the -8/-8B, the aircraft was equipped with a fresh water spray system that flushed salt deposits out of the engine before takeoff and after shutdown.[8]
This variant produced an increased 6,100 lbf (27.1 kN) of A/B thrust for the proposed A2U-1 attack aircraft, an attack variant of the F7U. This variant was canceled with the aircraft program.[8][9]


Surviving engines

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Also one unknown serial still in working state for sale in Saint-hyacinthe, Québec, Canada

Specifications (J46-WE-8)

Data from [4][11]

General characteristics



See also

Related development

Related lists



  1. ^ Air & Space Magazine,March 01, 2009, Oldies and Oddities: The Bonneville Jet Wars
  2. ^ Air & Space Magazine,March 01, 2009, Oldies and Oddities: The Bonneville Jet Wars Photos
  3. ^ Vectorsite.net: F3D Skynight
  4. ^ a b Aero Engines 1954 (1954). Flight. 9 Apr 1954. pg 461
  5. ^ a b c Roux 2007, pp. 237–238.
  6. ^ History Wars Weapons: F7U Cutlass
  7. ^ Cady, Steve (1965). Californians Seek Water Speed Mark. The New York Times, 28 Nov 1965. pg. S11.
  8. ^ a b Aero Engines 1956 (1956). Flight. 11 May 1956, p. 596
  9. ^ Westinghouse J46 Axial Turbojet Family, Paul Christiansen, Bleeg Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978-0692764886
  10. ^ Keilman, John (2023-12-10). "Great Balls of Fire! Bus-Melting Jet Cars Are Getting Scarce". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2023-12-11.
  11. ^ Westinghouse Turbojets (1953). Flight. 13 Nov 1953. pg 642