A new General Electric turboprop engine, derived from the 7,500-shp GE38-1B turboshaft engine, could become available by the middle of the decade. GE has designated the new engine study CPX38, and is basing it on the turboshaft that will power the U.S. Marine Corps’ new heavy-lift helicopter, the Sikorsky CH-53K. This could mean that the CPX38 would be in the 5,000- to 6,000-shp range. The only Western turboprop now in production in that category is the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A, which powers the Bombardier Q400.
GE left the high-powered turboprop segment after production of the GE CT7-9-powered Saab 340 ended in 1999. This market, which GE estimates will see 1,800 deliveries in the next 20 years, remains one of the few in which the company does not command a presence. Although the company says it is in discussions with airplane manufacturers, it has not yet named an application for the proposed CPX38. The engine could spawn lower-powered variants to fit both civil and military turboprop applications.
The CPX38 would help the company leverage the significant investment it has made in the GE38-1B turboshaft, which is based on the GE27 technology demonstrator and the U.S. Navy’s T407 turboprop engine. The GE27 served as the basis for the CFE738 turbofan, which powers the Dassault Falcon 2000. GE also has used the derivative-engine approach for the CT7-9 turboprop, which was derived from the CT7-8 turboshaft engine.