GE Aviation has begun conducting sand tests for its next-generation engine program that it hopes will soon power the Army’s fleet of Black Hawk and Apache helicopters.
These two rotorcraft fleets are now being powered by the legacy GE T700 engines.
The sand testing is part of the requirements for the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) to develop a replacement engine for the T700.
According to defensenews.com:
The service has set target goals of 50 percent more power and 25 percent more fuel efficiency than the older engines to improve capability in the field, particularly in the “high and hot” environments in regions such as Iraq or Afghanistan.
Production on the second engine model was completed over the summer. Sand tests are now being conducted at GE’s Lynn Mass. facilities.
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In a GE press release, Harry Nahatis,the company’s Aviation general manager of advanced turboshaft programs said:
“Through the T700’s proven performance in hot and harsh combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve learned a great deal about preventing hot and cold section engine degradation caused by sand ingestion,”
“The improved capability of our sand ingestion lab allows us to build on our lessons learned and more effectively simulate harsh field conditions on our next-generation turboshafts so that when they enter service, they’re even more reliable than the T700.”
GE is in close competition with Advanced Turbine Engine Co. who announced this week that it has successfully completed a sand ingestion test.