WASHINGTON – The U.S. military has completed the first round of engine testing for its upgraded turbine engine program that will power AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters and Future reconnaissance aircraft. Attack.
The first engine to be tested started with a first light off on March 22 and has now completed more than 100 hours of operation, the military said in a July 7 statement.
“The event successfully verified and validated performance models on the Army’s next-generation rotorcraft engine,” he said.
The Army selected the ITEP engine, built by General Electric, in February 2019, with the company receiving a $517 million award to build it. GE has beaten Advanced Turbine Engine Company – a Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney team – after a decade of competitive technology development.
While it was initially thought there might be a shorter timeframe to get the ITEP engine through testing and commissioning, the coronavirus pandemic caused schedule delays which subsequently affected the prototyping effort. competitive FARA which requires the ITEP engine to fly.
The Army selected Bell and Lockheed Martin to competitively build FARA prototypes with the ITEP engines. Both companies report that they have nearly finished building their prototypes and have been using 3D-printed ITEP engines in place of the real ones until the military delivers these engines before a first flight. The military and industry competitors still hope to achieve the first flight milestone by the end of 2023.
The new engine delivers 3,000 horsepower, which will redeem lifting capacity and greater fuel efficiency. It will continue in a multi-year test campaign to achieve full Army qualification, the service said in the release, to include preliminary flight qualification testing that will begin this fall through 2023.
Overall, the engine will log 5,000 hours of testing to achieve full engine qualification.
Jen Judson is an award-winning reporter covering ground warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.