The F101 engine was originally developed for the Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft program, which became the B-1A strategic bomber, and powered four development aircraft from 1970 to 1981 Utilizing the same core design as the F101, the F110 and F118 engine derivatives were created by adding new low pressure systems to tailor engine performance to the desired aircraft application.
Rated in the 30,000 pound thrust class, the F101 was the first GE-produced turbofan with an augmentor. Although the planned B-1A production program was terminated in 1977, four B-1 aircraft were built and flown through a complete operational flight test program.
Later, the production of 100 B-1Bs led to GE's contract to develop the F101-102 augmented turbofan, an improved version of the earlier flight test engine. The first engine was delivered in 1983 and B-1B flight testing began in 1984. The U.S. Air Force accepted the first aircraft in 1985 and the last of 469 F101-GE-102 engines was produced in December 1987.
Today there are 65 B-1B aircraft powered by the F101 in service. The B-1B participated in Desert Fox in 1998. It participated in combat campaigns such as Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was designed as a strategic nuclear bomber and has been modified to carry a very diverse range of conventional weapons.
The F101 core (high-pressure compressor, turbine and combustor) became the basis of the CFM56 series.