The GE Aviation GE3000 is a 3000shaft horsepower engine designed to achieve the US Armyrsquos requirements for fuel efficiency and lower maintenance cost

GE Aviation Starts Testing “Future” Turbine Engine

Oct. 4, 2016
Five-year effort to achieve lower fuel consumption, power-to-weight, and production and maintenance costs Highest single-spool compressor pressure ratio Ceramic matrix composites in the combustor Additive manufacturing for turbine rig

GE Aviation has started testing the first turbine engine it developed for the Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) program, a cooperative effort it has been pursuing with the U.S. Army since 2011. GE noted the new engine has been designed to achieve a 35% reduction in specific fuel consumption, 80% improvement in power-to-weight, 20% improvement in design life, and 45% reduction in production and maintenance costs relative to currently fielded engines.  

Five years ago, the U.S. Army chose GE to oversee the FATE cooperative program: it is working on a 5,000-lb, 10,000-shaft horsepower class turboshaft engine that incorporates technologies applicable to existing aircraft and future rotorcraft requirements.

The new engine test follows GE Aviation’s successful development last year of the FATE compressor, combustor, and turbine rig tests. The FATE compressor rig recorded the highest single-spool compressor pressure ratio in GE Aviation’s history; the combustor test incorporated ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) in the combustor; and the FATE turbine rig was built using additive manufacturing techniques. 

“The FATE program is the most advanced turboshaft development program in GE’s history, incorporating an extensive use of state-of-the-art technologies for the next generation of propulsion,” stated Harry Nahatis, GE Aviation’s general manager of Advanced Turboshaft Programs.

GE Aviation stated it expects the new technologies can be incorporated into new engines, including the GE3000, or upgrades to existing engines such as the T700 (installed in several military helicopters, including the Black Hawk and Apache) and the T408 engine (which powers the U.S. Marine Corps CH-53K helicopter.)

“Between the T408, GE3000, and FATE programs, we have a unique multigenerational product plan that shares technologies across our military rotorcraft efforts, incorporates commercial engine technologies and fuses them together in a low-risk manner to drive high-performance and affordable engines applicable to both military and commercial aircraft,” according to GE Aviation’s Jean Lydon-Rodgers, vice president and general manager of the Military Systems Operation.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)