GE Fighter Engines Well Positioned for 21st Century Leadership
FARNBOROUGH - GE Aircraft Engines' (GEAE) family of fighter engines is expanding its global presence with infusions of new technology and new aircraft applications that assure a continued leadership role for these engines well into the 21st century:
- F110 The best-selling engine for F-16C/D aircraft, the F110 is being greatly enhanced. An advanced, higher-thrust version of the F110 for the F-16 and F-15 has been successfully tested at GEAE's Evendale, Ohio, facility and at the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center at Tullahoma, Tennessee. With more than 260 hours of aero-mechanical qualification testing successfully completed, endurance and performance qualification testing is scheduled for next year. Designated the F110-GE-129 EFE (Enhanced Fighter Engine), the engine will be qualified at 34,000 pounds of thrust and offered initially at a thrust rating of 32,000 pounds, with demonstrated growth capability to 36,000 pounds. The EFE, which is fully interchangeable with the F110-GE-129, features a higher efficiency fan, and a more reliable and durable radial afterburner flameholder derived from GE's F414 engine. Operating at today's thrust levels, the EFE will increase the engine service interval up to 50 percent. Qualification of the EFE is targeted for December 1999, with production engine deliveries in 2000. In addition, the U.S. Air Force Field Service Evaluation (FSE) program for the F110-powered F-15 is successfully entering its 18th month, having recently surpassed 1,500 engine flight hours and 500 aircraft sorties. The program is scheduled to continue throughout this year and involves two F-15E aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada. Development work continues on a $6.6 million USAF contract, awarded in late 1997, to design and validate an F110 Engine Ejector Nozzle Kit for USAF F-16C/Ds. F110 ejector nozzle hardware is also common for use on F110-powered F-15Es. Flight testing of the ejector nozzle in the F-16 is expected to be completed next year.
- F414 Last month, GEAE delivered the first F414 production engines to the U.S. Navy for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. GE is producing 28 F414 production engines-15 to be delivered this year-to support the initial 12 Super Hornets under contract in the Low Rate Initial Production phase (LRIP). Earlier this year, GE received a follow-on contract for an additional 114 engines to be produced through mid-2001. Among the most tested fighter engines prior to production, the F414 has amassed 25,000 hours of testing including: more than 12,000 hours of factory testing, more than 6,000 hours in the U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F flight test program, and more than 6,000 hours of ground testing on the flight test engines. Seven Super Hornets have flown more than 2,000 flights. Navy plans call for production of approximately 1,250 to 1,900 engines through the year 2017 with the engine expected to enter the Navy's carrier fleet in 2001. In addition, the F414 is being evaluated as a potential export fighter engine for beyond the year 2000. Rated at 22,000 pounds (98 kN) thrust, with a nine-to-one thrust-to-weight ratio, the F414 has 35 percent greater thrust than GE's successful F404 engine, which powers more than 1,200 F/A-18s worldwide.
- F404 The world's most ubiquitous fighter engine, the F404 will power the Air Force of the Republic of Korea's KTX-2 advanced trainer/light combat aircraft. A variant of the F404-402, the engine, designated the F404-102, is being modified to power the single-engine KTX-2 by incorporating specific redundant features and a new control system with an advanced, F414-based FADEC (full authority digital electronic control). In designing the engine, emphasis is on commonality with the more than 3,600 F404 engines in service with several military aircraft worldwide, including the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps' F/A-18s. GE is supporting Korea's Samsung Aerospace Industries Ltd., which, in association with Lockheed Martin Corporation, is developing the cost-effective trainer/combat aircraft. GEAE is on contract for the full-scale development program, including engineering development and flight test engines, and has signed a long-term production agreement. Flight testing is scheduled to begin in 2001 with production scheduled for 2005.
- F120 The team of GEAE, Allison Advanced Development Company, and Rolls-Royce Military Aero Engines Ltd. is aggressively moving toward engine testing early next century for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F120 Engine Program. Earlier this year, the GE-lead team's F120 engine for the Alternate Engine Program passed the JSF Program Office's Preliminary Design Review. This review, involving an exhaustive evaluation of the F120's concept for design, is required before completing detailed engine design work. The JSF's subsequent Critical Design Review of the F120 Alternate Engine is expected in early 1999, with the first core engine to test expected in 2000 at Allison's Indianapolis, Ind., facility. In 1997, the JSF Program Office awarded the GE/Allison/R-R team a $106 million, four-year, Phase II contract for the F120 Engine Program covering airframe integration studies, core engine detailed design, engine hardware procurement, engine diagnostics development, and technology maturation. GE, the lead systems integrator, is developing a multi-stage blisk compressor, radial augmentor and dual control system (derived from the F414 engine), and advanced exhaust nozzle. Allison and GE are jointly developing a coupled turbine system (an integrated high pressure/low pressure counterrotating design) that incorporates advanced cooling technology. Allison is also responsible for the combustor/diffuser system and the gearbox. The engine will also incorporate an increased-airflow, three-stage, long-chord blisk fan.