GE Aviation and a joint venture of Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney were awarded contracts from the U.S. Army to begin preliminary design of a new turboshaft engine for nearly 3,000 UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64E Apache helicopters. The contracts call for their preliminary designs to be completed by August 2018.
In contract announcements on August 22, the U.S. Department of Defense said GE Aviation was awarded $102 million and the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC) joint venture of Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney $154 million to advance their competing engines. The Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama made the awards under the service’s long-running Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP).
ITEP aims to produce a 3,000 shaft horsepower (shp) engine that is 50 percent more powerful and 25 percent more fuel-efficient than the existing General Electric T700 engines that power Apaches and Black Hawks. The engine must perform well in “high and hot” conditions at 6,000 feet and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, have a longer service life and cost less to maintain.
GE Aviation has developed the GE3000 engine and ATEC the HPW3000 engine under the Army’s Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine (AATE) science and technology effort, a precursor to ITEP the service started in 2006. The Army issued a request for proposals for the ITEP preliminary design phase last September.
The preliminary design phase contracts specify an estimated completion date of Aug. 21, 2018. The Army that year plans to select one engine from the competing designs.
In a press release following announcement of the contracts, ATEC president Craig Madden said the joint venture recently completed testing two HPW3000 demonstrator engines “which performed very well and have already validated various program requirements…We are very confident in the engine design and in the results we’ve seen in testing so far.”
GE Aviation said the GE3000 integrates technologies demonstrated in the Army’s AATE and Future Affordable Turbine Engine programs, with additional technologies from its military and commercial engine lines. “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 manufacturer said.