GE T700 Engines, Industry Leaders Looking To Future
LE BOURGET - Introduced into service in 1978 on the Black Hawk helicopter, T700 engines now power virtually every mid-sized helicopter in the Western world, and current orders ensure continued production beyond the turn of the century.
The family of 10,000 T700 military and CT7 civil turboshaft and turboprop engines has flown more than 15 million flight hours with 115 operators in 50 countries. T700 service includes conflicts in Panama and Grenada, relief flights in Somalia, and more than 150,000 hours meeting the rigorous demands of Operation Desert Storm. Of 1,500 T700 engines, fewer than 1 percent required depot-level maintenance during Operation Desert Storm, an unprecedented example of reliability in such a harsh environment.
The T700/CT7 family has maintained its pre-eminence in the marketplace through continual infusion of the latest in technological advancements, proven on one or more of GE Aircraft Engines' (GEAE) other advanced engine programs. This approach has ensured that the T700 remains the world's most advanced mid-sized turboshaft/turboprop engine today and well into the future.
Distinguished by an impressive history, the T700 also has a promising future, based both on orders for current engines and on a recently launched growth derivative engine, the T700/T6E, privately funded and developed jointly by GEAE, European Gas Turbine (EGT) of the United Kingdom, and Italian engine manufacturers Alfa Romeo Avio and FiatAvio.
Initially committed for the European NH90 helicopter, the T700/T6E will serve as the key building block for a family of higher-powered T700/CT7 turboshaft and turboprop engines for next-generation military and civil rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft.
The T700/T6E engine is rated in the 2,400 shaft horsepower class, approximately 20 percent higher than today's T700, but will fit within the engine bay of existing T700-powered aircraft. The T700/T6E also retains the exceptional reliability, maintainability, and operability characteristics of the T700/CT7 family.
Design features include: a larger, centrifugal compressor, which increases engine airflow by approximately 10 percent; a dual-channel FADEC (Full Authority Digital Electronic Control) system; improved turbine materials; and a modified inlet system.
Component testing of the turbine to demonstrate emergency power ratings has been successfully completed, and testing of the compressor is now under way. Testing of the gas generator core will begin in September, and the first complete engine will go to test in January 1996. The first flight of the T700/T6E-powered NH-90 is scheduled for 1997.
"The T700/T6E is an important step in the continued evolution of the T700/CT7 engine family. The variety of potential applications ranges from shorter-term derivatives of current aircraft to potential longer-term options, based on value to the customer," said Lou Bevilacqua, general manager of GE Aircraft Engines' Turboshaft/Turboprop Projects Department.