GE’s T901 Engine Ready For U.S. Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program – Oct 09, 2018 – Lynn, Mass (Techreleased) – After investing $10 billion in their supply chain and $9 billion in maturing technologies over the past decade, GE Aviation stands ready to answer the U.S. Army’s call for an improved turbine engine with their new XT901 turboshaft helicopter engine. GE submitted its final Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) proposal to the U.S. Army, offering its XT901-GE-900 engine for the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), the U.S. Army’s endeavor to re-engine its Boeing AH-64 Apaches and Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawks. The U.S. Army is also expecting the ITEP engine to meet Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft requirements for Future Vertical Lift (FVL).
The full modularity of the XT901’s single-spool core provides the Army with superior fix-forward maintainability. Combat units can swap out modular parts of the engine in the field and travel with fewer full-sized spare engines, simplifying logistical footprints and supply lines. “Compared to a dual-spool core, the XT901’s proven, single-spool core is less complex, less expensive, lighter weight and fully modular,” said Hutter.
Additive manufacturing and CMCs, in particular, allow GE to create advanced, cost effective parts with shorter development time that significantly reduce specific fuel consumption, decrease weight by one third and increase durability. Some of the additively manufactured and CMC parts incorporated in the XT901 engine simply cannot be made with traditional manufacturing means. One of the additive parts in the XT901 reduces an assembly of more than 50 subcomponents into one part.
CMC components used in the hot section of the XT901 can withstand temperatures 500 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than metal components. Over the past decade, GE has spent more than $1.5 billion to bring advanced CMC technology to market. To meet the projected future demand for CMCs, GE invested $200 million to build America’s first center for mass-producing raw materials used to manufacture CMCs. It is located in Huntsville, Ala., and held its ribbon cutting ceremony in May 2018.
GE has spent decades developing and maturing these technologies in its commercial and military engines businesses. Additively manufactured and CMC parts currently fly on CFM International’s best-selling LEAP engine and GE’s newest widebody engine in development, the GE9X engine. CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines.
The Army and GE successfully completed their Preliminary Design Review (PDR) this past May, approving GE Aviation’s design and configuration of the XT901 engine. PDR completion is a major milestone within the Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract, a $102 million, 24-month contract the Army awarded GE in September 2016, that was recently extended to March 2019. The U.S. Army Contracting Command, based at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., plans to down select to one engine manufacturer for the EMD phase within the next few months.