GE offers improved turbine engine with metal AM parts to the U.S. Army
July 23, 2018
GE Aviation, Evendale, Ohio, USA, reports that it has submitted the second and final phase of its Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) proposal to the U.S. Army. GE is offering its T901-GE-900 engine for the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), the U.S. Army’s effort to re-engine its Boeing AH-64 Apaches and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks.
The T901 is said to incorporate a number of proven technologies, among them metal Additive Manufacturing, which GE has used to create advanced, cost-effective parts with shorter development times which reduce fuel burn, decrease weight and increase durability. Using metal AM, GE Aviation states that it has been able to consolidate parts which comprised fifty-one pieces on its former T700 engine to just one integrated part on the T901, resulting in a 20% reduction in weight.
In June, the Army and GE successfully completed their Preliminary Design Review (PDR), achieving approval of GE Aviation’s design and configuration of the T901 engine. PDR completion is said to be a major milestone within the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction contract – a $102 million, 24-month contract awarded to GE by the Army in September 2016. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, based at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, USA, plans to select one engine manufacturer for the EMD phase by the end of 2018.
GE stated that it has invested more than $9 billion in maturing technologies applicable to the T901 and over $300 million on the development and testing of turboshaft-specific technologies. The company has funded and successfully completed testing on a T901 prototype engine, as well as tests on all components of the engine, to prove that it meets or exceeds the Army’s ITEP requirements.
Ron Hutter, Executive Director of the T901 Programme, stated, “Using GE’s industry-leading technologies, rather than mechanical complexity, to meet ITEP requirements enables the use of a single-spool design, making the T901 engine less complex, less expensive, and lighter weight. The T901’s single-spool core enables full modularity, building on the success of the combat proven T700 and providing the Army superior fix-forward maintainability, reduced life-cycle costs and improved Warfighter readiness.”
With fewer parts and a simpler design, the T901 is said to be more reliable and more maintainable. The fully modular design also offers superior growth potential at a lower cost through incremental improvements to engine modules, which could present a significant advantage for meeting FVL requirements as they develop. GE Aviation and the US Army successfully installed a full-scale T901 engine mock-up into an Apache and a Black Hawk in December 2017, demonstrating its to integrate into both airframes.