Farnborough Air Show

GE Aviation Forges Ahead with Engine Programs

 - July 18, 2022, 5:50 AM
The first T901 turboshaft sits in a test cell at GE's facility in Lynn, Massachusetts. Plans call for the engine to replace the T700 in the H-60 and AH-64 helicopters, as well as power future Army rotorcraft. (Photo: GE Aviation)

Two new major military propulsion projects have begun at GE Aviation. The XA100 adaptive cycle engine is being developed for installation in the F-35A and F-35C as part of the U.S. Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP), while the T901 turboshaft is aimed at the UH-60 and AH-64 helicopter fleets and will also power the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). 

Under development by GE Edison Works, the company’s research and development business unit for military solutions, the XA100 has undergone testing at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tullahoma, Tennessee, since December 2020. GE expects the engine to deliver 25 percent better fuel efficiency, 10 percent greater thrust, and more power and thermal management capability compared with the current powerplant.

In the meantime, the T901 Improved Turbine Engine Program concluded its first-engine-to-test campaign on March 25 with more than 100 hours running in a test cell at Lynn, Massachusetts. When compared with the T700 engine, performance goals for the T901 include a 50 percent power increase, a 25 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption, improved durability, and lower life-cycle costs.

Another development program is the Applied Research Collaborative Systematic Turboshaft Electrification Project, which seeks to create a megawatt-class electrified powerplant that advances technology applicable to a future vertical lift vehicle. The project began in February, with GE working alongside the Army Research Laboratory. The company’s research campus in Niskayuna, New York, is developing technologies based on a CT7/T700 turboshaft engine.

GE Aviation’s production powerplants continue to be successful, such as the CT7/T700 that powers the Sikorsky S-70/H-60 Black Hawk and Leonardo AW149/189, and the T408 that is installed in the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavylifter. In the military jet sector, GE’s F404 has been chosen for the HAL Tejas Mk 1/1A fighter and the Boeing T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer, while the derived F414 is being supplied for F/A-18 Super Hornet and Saab Gripen E/F production. The same engine also powers Korea’s KF-21 Boramae fighter, which is shortly to make its first flight.

The F110 engine powers around 70 percent of the U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-16 fleet and has been selected by recent customers for the latest F-16 Block 70. Most of the recent Boeing F-15 acquisitions have specified the F110 engine, while the powerplant is the only one fully certified, integrated, and in production for the F-15 Advanced Eagle.