GE F414 Powers First Flight of F/A-18E/F Ahead of Schedule
ST. LOUIS, Missouri - Two new GE F414 turbofan engines powered today's successful first flight of McDonnell Douglas' new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter of the future, ahead of the schedule established three years ago.
The 20-minute flight took off and landed at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.
"The engine performance was absolutely flawless, meeting our every expectation and meeting or bettering all prescribed performance standards," said Dick Ruegg, general manager of the F414 program at GE Aircraft Engines in Lynn, Massachusetts. "This is definitely the engine that we wanted it to be at this point in the program."
In February 1996, the U.S. Navy's three-year flight test program, involving seven F/A-18E/F aircraft, will begin at the Naval Air Warfare Center at Patuxent River, Maryland. In addition, ground testing of three F/A-18E/Fs will be conducted at the McDonnell Douglas facility in St. Louis.
Designed to modernize the Navy's air-to-air and air-to-ground attack capabilities, the Super Hornet will enter the Navy's carrier fleet in the year 2001.
The F414 is rated at 22,000 pounds of thrust, approximately 35 percent more than that of the GE F404 engines that power more than 1,200 F/A-18 aircraft in service throughout the world. In addition, the F414's nine-to-one thrust-to-weight ratio is one of the highest of any modern fighter engines.
The F414 will complete full production qualification in 1997 followed by initial production engine deliveries in 1998.