The J46 engine was developed as a larger, more powerful version of Westinghouse's J34 engine, about 50% larger. The development program ran into many problems with this engine, including combustion instability and control issues at altitude.
The engine featured an 11-stage compressor that was driven by two turbine stages on a single spool. The engine also featured an early afterburner, which was a simple "eyelid" design that was actuated by a long control rod that ran the length of the engine.
J46-WE-8: This variant powered the F7U Cutlass and produced 4800 lbf (21.4 kN) of dry thrust. The F7U-3 was re-engined with two J46-WE-8B turbojets giving a 680 mph (1,095 km/h) max speed. This variant also powered the Harvey Hustler, a speed boat designed to go faster than 275 mph.
J46-WE-18:This variant would have produced an increased 6100 lbf (27.1 kN) of dry thrust for the proposed A2U attack aircraft, an attack variant of the F7U. This variant was canceled with the aircraft program.
J46-WE-12:This variant powered the F2Y Sea Dart hydroski aircraft. It was equipped with a fresh water spray system that flushed salt deposits out of the engine before takeoff.