GE38 Sets Horsepower Record in Early Testing

October 06, 2009

LYNN, Massachusetts -- The GE38 turboshaft engine recently exceeded required power for the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter that Sikorsky Aircraft is developing for the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), reaching 7,300 shaft-horsepower and establishing a shaft-horsepower record for the GE-Lynn facility.

"The GE38 continues to meet or exceed customer expectations as the first engine to test (FETT) reaches the midpoint of its test cycle," said Harry Nahatis, GE38 program manager. "In addition to reaching the significant shaft-horsepower milestone, the control system has operated well, and vibrations have stayed within predicted limits."

The GE38 FETT, which is scheduled to complete testing this year, has accumulated data on more than 600 parameters, including pressures, temperature and vibrations. Testing following the FETT phase will focus on engine durability, altitude performance and environmental compatibility.

GE ushered in a new era of helicopter propulsion on June 24, when first full engine testing began. Selected in December 2006 to power the CH-53K helicopter for the USMC, the GE38 represents the cornerstone for a new turboshaft/turboprop engine family, with a revenue potential of more than $4 billion including heavy-lift applications.

Testing of the GE38 is expected to run through 2011, concurrent with a full U.S. military qualification test program. This testing, conducted under a System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program contract, includes five ground-test engines that will accumulate more than 5,000 engine test hours, plus 20 flight-test engines for the CH-53K development aircraft.

GE38 architecture is updated with new aerodynamic features for more efficient operation, plus improved cooling schemes and materials for added durability. In addition, fuel consumption is substantially lower than that of other engines in its power class (7,500 shp) for longer range and/or heavier payloads.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components and integrated systems for commercial and military aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings.