GE Aerospace
GE Aerospace illustration of the XA100 engine.

GE Adaptive Engine Technology Advances

May 13, 2024
GE Aerospace completed another round of tests on its XA100 three-stream adaptive-cycle engine technology, expanding the scope of knowledge for design and production of critical components.

GE Aerospace reported it completed a fourth round of tests for the adaptive cycle engine technology it is researching for the U.S. Air Force as part of the Next Generational Adaptive Propulsion program. The objective now is to devise a combat aircraft engine with “30 percent greater range and significantly more thermal management compared to today’s most advanced combat engine,” according to GE, though no specific aircraft program is in consideration at this time.

The GE XA100 is a three-stream adaptive-cycle engine that can adjust the bypass ratio and fan pressure to increase fuel efficiency or thrust, depending on the scenario. The design makes extensive use of advanced component technologies, including ceramic matrix composites, polymer matrix composites, and additive manufacturing.

Previously, GE had been researching the new propulsion technology with the aim of supplying an adaptive-cycle engine for the F-35 program, though its emphasis has shifted since the U.S. Dept. of Defense selected an upgraded version of the Pratt & Whitney F-135 engine for the planned Technology Refresh-3 program ahead of the F-35’s Block 4 update.

The recent round of testing has brought further understanding of critical components that can improve design and manufacturing of future adaptive cycle engines, according to GE. Data from this new round of testing, coupled with data from prior rounds, will directly inform and benefit the NGAP effort.

“With the information gathered through our fourth round of testing, the future of military aviation is no longer theoretical – it is a reality,” stated Amy Gowder, president and CEO, GE Aerospace Defense and Systems. “Every additional terabyte of data we gather off this real-world engine puts GE Aerospace and our military in a better position to deliver cutting-edge aviation capabilities to the warfighter.”

GE Aerospace has a second adaptive engine in development as part of the NGAP, the XA102, which completed a major design review in December. That design will now continue toward a prototype engine test, the manufacturer reported.

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