EVENDALE, OHIO -- Following a lengthy technical evaluation, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force & Air Defense has selected the GE F110 fighter engine to power its new fleet of 80 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 aircraft - and has launched a new derivative F110 engine. The engine contract to GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) is valued at more than $400 million. UAE selected the F110-GE-132 engine, a higher-thrust derivative of GEAE's F110 fighter engine family, the most popular engine for the world's F-16C/D aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2002. "The UAE selection solidifies an important engine development program for us," said Russ Sparks, vice president and general manager of GEAE's Military Engine Operation. "We are extremely gratified with the UAE's confidence in our leading technology and support. For several years, GE has been maturing technology features of this low-risk F110 derivative which will provide greater capability for the F-16 with the same proven reliability." Derived from the highly successful F110-GE-100 and F110-GE-129 engines powering F-16s worldwide, the F110-GE-132 can produce 32,500 pounds of thrust or operate at 29,000 pounds (current thrust rating for Block 50 F-16s) and increase engine life up to 50 percent. The -132 draws from GEAE's extensive technology base, including: A long-chord, blisk fan derived from the F118 engine (B-2 bomber), a radial afterburner derived from the F120 engine (JSF) and F414 engine (F/A-18E/F), and a composite outer fan duct based on the F404/F414 engines. The F110-GE-132 engine development work is more than 50 percent complete, including extensive aero-mechanical ground testing. Altitude testing will begin later this year. Flight testing and full engine qualification are slated for 2002. In addition to powering the Block 60 F-16, the increased life option of -132 engine creates an attractive upgrade opportunity for existing Block 50 F-16 operators because the F110 can be installed in both F-16 configurations without aircraft structural or mount modifications. The current F110-GE-129 can be converted to the -132 configuration by installing the upgraded blisk fan and afterburner hardware. The UAE decision further enhances the F110's worldwide presence. The F110 has won more than 80 percent of the engine orders for F-16C/D aircraft. GE's F110 customers include the U.S. Air Force and five international customers for F-16C/Ds, as well as Japan for its single-engine F-2 support fighter. The F110 maintains the best safety and reliability record on F-16C/Ds worldwide and powers 85 percent of the USAF F-16 front-line fighters, including 100 percent of the USAF F-16s involved in recent missions in Kosovo. More than 2,200 F110 engines have entered service since the original F110-GE-100 was introduced in 1986. The F110-GE-129 was introduced in 1992.