GE awarded $102M Preliminary Design engine contract for Apache and Black Hawk

GE awarded $102M Preliminary Design engine contract for Apache and Black Hawk 25 Aug, 16, Source: GE

The United States Army Contracting Command (ACC), based at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL, awarded GE Aviation a $102M, 24-month contract leading to a Preliminary Design Review of its GE3000 engine for the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP).

The GE3000 is a 3,000 shaft horsepower engine that will provide advanced turboshaft propulsion capability for the Army’s Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. Derivatives of the engine are expected to power versions of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift aircraft. The GE3000 delivers the Army’s requirements for fuel efficiency, and lower maintenance cost. In addition, it provides 50% more power as well as increased performance in high/hot conditions including 6,000 ft / 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The GE3000 integrates technologies demonstrated in two Army Science & Technology programs, the Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine (AATE) and the Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) and includes additional technologies developed across GE’s military and commercial engine portfolio,” said Harry Nahatis, general manager of GE Aviation’s Advanced Turboshaft/Turboprop projects. “The GE3000 builds upon our extensive experience powering the Black Hawk and Apache helicopters with the T700 engine, one of the most reliable and maintainable engines in service today. Combining that experience with proven technologies enables dramatic, yet affordable capability improvements. The GE3000 features the latest diagnostic and prognostic tools with a uniquely maintainable architecture to provide the Army with the flexibility to improve readiness with the lowest life cycle costs.”

After the Preliminary Design Review, the Army plans to select a single supplier to complete the development and qualification of the ITEP engine.

Regional impacts

For Massachusetts: This ITEP PDR contract will support more than 100 engineers, predominantly located at the GE Aviation facility in Lynn, MA. Designing, manufacturing and supporting T700 engines for the Army’s Black Hawk and Apache helicopters has been a significant part of GE Lynn’s business for decades. GE is aggressively competing for this next generation engine to ensure it can deliver improved capability to the US Army.

For Northern Alabama: During the ITEP PDR contract GE Aviation plans to substantiate the benefit of incorporating advanced hot section materials such as Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) in the GE3000 engine. GE is building two CMC material production facilities in Huntsville, AL to ensure there is sufficient production capability for future engines like the GE3000. GE is investing $200M in the facilities, which will employ up to 300 new workers.

For Southern Alabama: During the ITEP PDR contract GE Aviation plans to substantiate the benefit of incorporating advanced manufacturing methods such as additive manufacturing in the GE3000 engine. GE is expanding it additive manufacturing production capability at it Auburn, AL facility. In 2014, GE announced it would invest $50M in the existing 300,000-square-foot Auburn facility to prepare for the additional additive work. Upon completion, GE’s investments in Auburn will total more than $125M since 2011, creating more than 300 new jobs.

Quotes from local politicians

Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03), the Chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said, “I’m pleased to see this important work for the Army being done right here in Lee County.”

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) said, “I commend GE Aviation on their outstanding success in aerospace manufacturing and am pleased with their continued investment in North Alabama following last year’s decision to construct two high-tech manufacturing facilities here. The Army Contracting Command’s announcement to bolster the Improved Turbine Engine Program is a testament to GE Aviation’s industry-leading vision, and underscores Huntsville’s commitment to the most technologically advanced and capable national defense possible.”

Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-6) said, “The GE3000 will provide advanced turboshaft propulsion capability for Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. This is great news for our region and provides exciting momentum for our Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) team efforts in Lynn. This contract will grow good-paying jobs, and it shows that GE Lynn is positioned to compete aggressively for a leading role in GE’s future engineering and advanced manufacturing needs.”

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