New Orders, Tech Insertions Mark Increased GE Fighter Engine Presence
LE BOURGET -- General Electric Company's F110 and F404/F414 fighter engine families have successfully powered combat aircraft since the 1980s. Infused with new technology and backed by over 13 million combined flight hours of experience, these programs are enjoying unprecedented success as customers are increasingly relying on a growing range of platforms to satisfy near-term mission demands.
F110 Engine Family
More than 2,800 F110 engines have been ordered worldwide since initial selection by the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1984, making it the best-selling power for Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighter aircraft. In addition to the USAF, 12 international forces fly F110-powered aircraft. The Turkish Air Force, GE's biggest F110 customer outside the USAF, has finalized arrangements for 30 new F110-GE-129B-powered Advanced Block 50 aircraft. Engines will be assembled at Tusas Engine Industries, Inc. in Eskisehir, Turkey.
The latest generation of GE F110 engines, the F110-GE-132, delivered to the United Arab Emirates, produces up to 32,500 pounds (145 kN) of thrust. With its new blisk fan configuration, the F110-GE-132 has 66% fewer parts and higher airflow.
F110 engines are also enjoying strong momentum in the twin-engine F-15 arena. The Royal Saudi Air Force recently ordered 91 F110-GE-129C engines to re-engine its Boeing F-15S aircraft, with deliveries currently being made. Combined agreements call for 156 installed F110-GE-129C engines and a logistics support package. In selecting the GE engine, the RSAF cited the F110's durability in a harsh operating environment, safety and reliability, and cost-effective operation.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force recently accepted additional F110-GE-129C engines to power 24 new F-15SG aircraft. The -129C model incorporates GE's Service Life Extension (SLEP) hardware, which includes highly successful three-dimensional aerodynamic (3-D aero) technology derived from the CFM56 engine plus upgrades to the combustor and high-pressure turbine. These enhancements can provide up to a 25 percent improvement in cost-per-flying-hour, and a significant time-on-wing increase.
Other countries that have selected the SLEP option include Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan and Turkey. The USAF is currently retrofitting the SLEP package on its F-16 fleet. The SLEP upgrade has exceeded expectations for both reduced cost-per-engine flight-hour and increased time-on-wing criteria. GE and the USAF estimate the potential savings of SLEP to a USAF fleet of 800 F110 engines at approximately $1 billion.
F404/F414 Engine Family
One of the most versatile engines in military aviation history, more than 4,000 F404 engines power F/A-18 Hornets of the U.S. Navy (USN) and Marine Corps (USMC), as well as Hornets of the air forces of Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain, and Switzerland. F404 derivatives also power fighter platforms in the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Korea, Singapore, South Africa and Sweden. The F404 family of engines has accumulated over 12 million flight hours.
With more than 1 million flight hours, the F414 engine continues to exceed USN goals for reliability and time-on-wing. F414-powered F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers have continued to expand their presence in the USN fleet, with 25 active squadrons. To date, more than 900 F414 engines have been delivered, supporting more than 395 aircraft in the fleet.
In May 2009, the first F414 engines for the Royal Australian Air Force were shipped for installation on the F/A-18F Super Hornets as part of a deal signed in 2007 calling for 54 F414-GE-400 engines. Engine deliveries are scheduled to continue through 2010 for the RAAF, the inaugural international Super Hornet customer.
Gripen NG: The F414G powered the Saab Gripen Next Generation aircraft to a successful first flight in Sweden in May 2008. In January 2009, the Gripen NG Demo demonstrated the ability to fly supercruise while powered with the F414G engine. A single-engine variant of the proven F414-GE-400, the G model delivers over 20% more thrust than the current F404/RM12 engine, enabling added performance, range and payload. The F414 contains a Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC), and advanced materials and cooling techniques for improved performance and life. Aircraft demonstration and flight testing will continue beyond 2010.
EA-18G Growler: The first US Navy EA-18G Growler, powered by F414 engines, was delivered to the fleet in June 2008. More than 168 F414 propulsion systems are expected to power 84 EA-18G aircraft, with deliveries planned to continue through 2013.
Derived from the combat-proven F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the EA-18G will serve as the cornerstone of the US Navy's Airborne Electronic Attack (AEA) mission. Its highly flexible design enables warfighters to perform an array of AEA missions and operate from either the deck of an aircraft carrier or land-based fields.
India LCA: F404-GE-IN20 engines powered the Indian Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) to successful first flight in June 2008. More durable in design, the highest-thrust engine in the F404 family is designed to meet mission capability with extended life. In 2006, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited ordered 24 F404-GE-IN20 afterburning engines to power the first operational squadron of Tejas fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force, following a 2003 purchase of 17 F404-GE-IN20 engines to power a limited series of operational production aircraft and naval prototypes.
T-50 Golden Eagle: Thirty-seven T-50 aircraft powered by F404-GE-102 engines have been deployed for full mission utilization for more than two years and have provided smooth, reliable operation throughout the envelope. GE has delivered more than 60 of planned 96 kits to Samsung Techwin (STW), with STW delivering engines to Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) through 2011. T-50 International (formed by KAI and Lockheed Martin) continues to market the aircraft to several potential export customers.
Performance Based Logistics
In February, the USN announced its decision to purchase a Performance Based Logistics (PBL) contract from GE for the F414-GE-400 turbofan engine, covering repair and parts for both engines and modules. This Fleet Support PBL contract, in conjunction with the 2006 multi-year PBL award for F414 depot component repairs, provides a comprehensive, integrated and cost-effective readiness approach for the USN.
With an order for 24 F414-powered F/A-18F Super Hornets, Australia became the first international customer for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and also signed the first international F414 PBL agreement. In January 2009, Australia signed a 12-year PBL for F404 and F414 engines powering its Hornet fleet. This F404/F414 total logistics support contract covers all aspects of logistics, intermediate and deeper maintenance, and engineering support for the remaining life of the F/A-18 Hornet fleet and the projected life of the F/A-18F Super Hornet fleet.
Other potential PBL opportunities span a wide range of applications and engines, including F110, F404, J85 and T64.
GE continues developing advanced versions of the F414, including an Enhanced Performance Engine (EPE) that can provide a 20% increase in thrust and an Enhanced Durability Engine (EDE) for extended component life at current thrust levels.
The latest F414-based advanced technology demonstrator engine has completed a test program that utilized a two-stage, all-blisk (integrated blade and disk) fan, an advanced six-stage high-pressure compressor (HPC) and a new high-pressure turbine (HPT) design. The engine ran to 100% of maximum steady-state core speed and successfully completed all program objectives during more than 20 hours of testing.
The new fan design incorporates 3-D aero, forward-swept airfoil technology, which provides higher airflow, improved efficiency and reduced parts count compared with the current F414 fan. The ongoing demonstrator program also included validation testing for high-cycle-fatigue design methods, and foreign object damage-tolerant fan and compressor airfoil designs.
The advanced technology core will complete additional testing in 2010 as part of a fuel savings technology demonstrator engine program that GE is running under contract to the US Navy.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also has a global service network to support these offerings.