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GE Charting Future of Military Aviation

Our Bureau - : Jul 18, 2022 - : 6:26 am

GE highlights its military portfolio with its next-generation engines and continued global competitiveness at the Farnborough Airshow.

The company is in the midst of major test campaigns for transformational combat and rotorcraft engines. GE’s XA100 adaptive cycle engine for the F-35 has demonstrated performance consistent with the U.S. Air Force’s goals for the Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). The engine is expected to complete testing at a U.S. Air Force facility later this summer.

GE’s T901 turboshaft engine completed its First Engine to Test (FETT) campaign in late June as part of the U.S. Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP). The T901 is demonstrating performance in line with the U.S. Army’s goals and will re-engine the Army’s UH-60 and AH-64 fleets, as well as power the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA).

GE’s fielded products continue to perform for military customers around the world. The T700/CT7 turboshaft engine family offers proven, reliable power for applications around the world, while GE’s T408 engine powered the Sikorsky CH-53K to Initial Operational Capability (IOC) with the U.S. Marine Corps in April. Deliveries of GE’s F110 engine are ongoing for the U.S. Air Force’s F-15EX platform as well as international users. The F414-powered KF-21 Boramae’s first flight is anticipated soon, and the F404 engine is readying for a historic production ramp.


GE’s second XA100 adaptive cycle engine is undergoing testing at the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) in Tullahoma, Tenn. Designed to fit the F-35A and F-35C with no structural modifications to either airframe, GE’s XA100 has demonstrated transformational performance through testing, which began in December 2020. This includes 25% better fuel efficiency, 10% more thrust, and significantly more power and thermal management capacity than today’s engines. Those improvements would enable 30% more range, 20–40% faster acceleration, and double the mission systems capability for the F-35.

The XA100 incorporates the latest in GE’s technology portfolio, including Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) and 3D-printed (additive) parts to help unlock game-changing performance.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished to date with the U.S. Air Force on the XA100,” said David Tweedie, GE Edison Works’ vice president, and general manager, Advanced Products. “Our focus is on a strong finish to the AEDC test campaign, which will demonstrate both a return on the significant taxpayer and Air Force investment in this program, as well as GE’s readiness to move into a low-risk Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) program.”

The company’s T901 turboshaft engine recently concluded its FETT campaign, which began on March 25, 2022. Testing consisted of more than 100 hours of run time in a Lynn, Mass., test cell.
“The first T901 engine test campaign was successful and demonstrated performance consistent with the Army’s goals,” said Tom Champion, GE’s T901 program director. “That performance makes this an extremely important program for the future of Army Aviation. We’re fully focused on the coming months of testing and delivering this capability to the Warfighter.”

Performance goals for the engine include 50% more power, 25% better specific fuel consumption (SFC), and improved durability and life cycle costs compared to the T700 engine. The T901 won the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) competition to re-engine the U.S. Army’s UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache fleets in 2019. The T901 was also selected to power both Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) competitive prototypes and will power the Army’s selected FARA production aircraft. GE continues working closely with the Army to deliver flight test engines later this year to support the FARA competitive prototype fly-off.

In February this year, GE and the Army Research Laboratory began a research and development program called the Applied Research Collaborative Systematic Turboshaft Electrification Project (ARC-STEP). Included in this project is the research, development, testing, and evaluation of a megawatt (MW) class electrified powerplant that further develops technologies applicable to Army Future Vertical Lift (FVL). Development is ongoing at GE’s research campus in Niskayuna, N.Y., with a CT7 turboshaft engine.

In-Production Products

With more than 25,000 engines delivered to date, the T700/CT7 turboshaft engine family continues to represent a compelling option for proven, reliable power for dozens of applications around the world.

GE powers the Leonardo AW149 and AW189, which are in service today with the CT7-2E1 engine. The CT7-2E1 has proven itself with reliable operations in harsh and maritime environments while offering lower engine weight, lower fuel consumption, and maintenance cost advantages compared to competing engines for the AW149. Meanwhile, the T700-GE-701D for the Sikorsky S-70M Black Hawk offers decades of front-line combat experience and 100% engine commonality with the Boeing AH-64E Apache fleet currently being delivered to the U.K. Armed Forces. Thus, both the CT7-2E1 and T700-701D offer a high level of commonality with an existing U.K. platform. Local sustainment for the AH-64E engine fleet will be provided by H+S Aviation in Portsmouth, U.K.

GE’s powerhouse T408 turboshaft engine continues providing transformational heavy-lift capabilities for the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, which achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC) with the U.S. Marine Corps in April. To date, the T408 has accumulated more than 20,000 ground and flight hours. The CH-53K represents a compelling offering to U.S. allies and partners as well, with each T408 engine offering 57% more power, 18% better specific fuel consumption, and 63% fewer parts compared to the T64 engine.


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