GE Aviation has completed testing the first engine developed for the US Army’s Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) largeturboshaft programme.
Harry Nahatis, VP and General Manager of GE Aviation’s Turboshaft Engine Department, said: “This risk-reduction vehicle is a key step in the programme towards our final build and performance demonstration. From a pure design capability standpoint, the FATE programme is the most advanced turboshaft development engine GE has tested in our history, incorporating an extensive use of commercially developed technologies for the next generation of propulsion.”
GE expects to begin testing the second FATE engine early next year.
After a competitive bidding process, the US Army awarded GE in 2011 a $45 million FATE cost-share contract to design a 5,000-10,000shp-class turboshaft engine demonstrating technologies applicable to existing US Department of Defense aircraft and future rotorcraft requirements such as the Future Vertical Lift programme.
These technologies are also meant to be capable of incorporation into other new engines, including the T901 that GE has offered for the army’s ITEP programme, as well as upgrades to existing engines such as GE Aviation’s T700 and T408 militaryhelicopter turboshafts.
In the FATE engine-development contract the US Army set GE aggressive performance goals, including a 35% reduction in specific fuel consumption, an 80% improvement in power-to-weight, a 20% improvement in design life and a 45% reduction in production and maintenance costs relative to comparable in-service engines.
As well as increasing hot-and-high payload and performance, the army is also emphasising extended range and endurance in the FATE programme, GE said.
The first FATE engine-level test followed successful compressor, combustor and turbine rig tests for the engine. GE Aviation said the FATE compressor rig recorded the highest single-spool compressor pressure ratio in the company’s history.
Additionally, the combustor test incorporated GE’s most extensive use to date of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) in the combustion module, the CMC combustor dome and liners providing unprecedented high-temperature capability and weight reduction.