GE38 Engine on Fast Track for First Engine to Test
FARNBOROUGH -- Component rig tests of GE's GE38 turboshaft engine, chosen by Sikorsky Aircraft to power the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter that is under development for the U.S. Marine Corps, have started in preparation for First Engine to Test (FETT) in early 2009. This testing follows an internal review of more than 100 design and program management criteria that led to finalization of component drawings and release of parts for manufacture. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
Combustion system testing will begin this month and will validate numerous performance parameters, including cooling effectiveness and exit temperature distribution. Controls component rig tests, slated for later this fall, will ensure electric interfaces are correct and demonstrate functionality of the Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC). Lube simulator tests, scheduled for early 2009, will ensure the GE38 meets stringent military standards under conditions such as pitch-and-roll operations, and oil interruption.
"We are eager to enter the next phase of the test program," said Ed Birtwell, vice president of GE's Turboshaft/Turboprop Projects. "Efforts to date have validated GE's investment in technical advancement for the GE38 and its ability to meet a wide range of turboshaft and turboprop applications."
Rig testing is being conducted under a System Development and Demonstration contract that includes five ground-test engines, which will accumulate nearly 6,000 engine test hours, plus 20 flight-test engines for CH-53K development aircraft.
Capable of producing more than 7,500 shaft-horsepower at sea level, the GE38 draws upon technologies from the GE27 Modern Technology Demonstrator Engine program for the U.S. military, which set world records for low fuel consumption and power-to-weight ratio, and the T407 turboprop engine developed for the U.S. Navy. A turbofan derivative of the T407 engine, the CFE738, powers the Dassault Falcon 2000 business jet.
This architecture is updated with new three-dimensional aerodynamics for more efficient airfoil shapes, plus improved cooling schemes and materials for added durability. As a result, the GE38 can deliver approximately 15-20% more power than the T407 engine--depending on the application and the mission--plus significant advances in engine performance and life-cycle cost.
The GE38 also features a more rugged airfoil design to increase durability, plus a dual-channel FADEC system with advanced health monitoring functions. To help reduce operation and support costs, the GE38 features a modular design popularized by the T700 engine family.
In December 2006, Sikorsky selected the GE38 for its three-engine CH-53K aircraft, which will replace the CH-53E SUPER STALLIONTM helicopter powered by GE's T64 engine. The GE38 provides 57% more power, 18% better specific fuel consumption and has 63% fewer parts than the similarly sized GE T64 powering the existing CH-53E helicopter. Engine deliveries are expected to begin in 2010.
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.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. The company's long commitment to safety and innovation is reflected in its mission statement: "We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere … every timeTM." United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.