GE Completes Testing Prototype ITEP Helo Engine

GE Aviation’s T901 test engine.
GE Aviation

GE Aviation has completed testing a prototype T901-GE-900 turboshaft engine it developed and built under a two-year, $102 million contract for the preliminary design review (PDR) phase of the US Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Programme (ITEP). The US Army launched ITEP in 2009 to develop a drop-in replacement engine for the GE T700 engines powering more than 2,800 Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawks and Boeing AH- 64 Apaches it operates.

In its ITEP specifications, the US Army called for a new 3,000shp-class engine that would offer 50% more power than the T700, as well as 25% lower specific fuel consumption, 35% lower production and maintenance costs and 20% longer engine life.

Ron Hutter, Executive Director of the T901 programme, said: “To validate our analytical models ahead of the ITEP PDR with the army, it was critical to demonstrate that a T901 prototype engine outfitted with the latest and greatest commercial and military technologies will meet ITEP performance requirements; there is no substitute for testing.”

According to GE Aviation, the companyfunded T901 prototype test engine - which is a single-spool design, like the T700 - exceeded ITEP performance requirements. As a result, if - after the US Army completes its PDRs of the T901 and the competing T900 from the Advanced Turbine Engine Company joint venture between Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney - the army chooses the T901 for the single-supplier engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of ITEP, GE’s engine is ready for EMD development.

GE Aviation conducted the T901 prototypeengine tests over a period of six months and verified growth margin to meet future ITEP power requirements, it said.

Following the completion of the T901 prototype test, GE continued the companyfunded portion of its ITEP PDR development by running compressor, combustor and turbine component tests.

The T901 makes use of a significant number of additively manufactured parts, including a new part that reduces an assembly of more than 50 subcomponents into one part.

Chris Kjelgaard