The classic engineering mind looks at a complex machine, studies it, and then tries to figure out how it all works together. Although I’m no longer doing day-to-day engineering work, I’m still an engineer at heart and by trade—and there’s no machine that excites me quite like a jet engine.
So, as you can imagine, standing in front of two GE F110 engines integrated into an aircraft is a phenomenal experience for me. Last week, I was fortunate to do just that during a visit to Eglin Air Force Base for the official roll-out ceremony of Boeing’s newly named F-15EX Eagle II.
It was truly amazing to see this aircraft, listen to the Air Force’s plans for the Eagle II, and represent GE at the ceremony. I was able to meet the Airmen who will put the Lot 1 aircraft through its paces during integrated testing, as well as see some familiar faces within the Air Force and Boeing. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most of these interactions online, so seeing our customers was incredible.
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) April 8, 2021
After finally seeing the engines and aircraft up close, I can’t help but reflect on how GE got here.
It’s been a long road for GE to get on U.S. Air Force F-15s. Although GE was able to earn its way into the Air Force’s F-14 and F-16 fleets in the 1980s, the F-15 eluded us.
But seeing the capability of the F110/F-15 combo, GE turned to U.S. allies internationally to offer the F110 for their F-15 platforms. It began in 2002 when the Republic of Korea Air Force selected the F110 for the F-15K, and several other U.S. allies followed suit. Now, we can say that in the past decade, every engine delivered for an F-15 has been a GE F110.
It’s a great illustration of something I admire about this company: our people don’t give up after a setback—we look for the next opportunity.
As those engines were delivered internationally, we simultaneously worked with Boeing to become fully qualified and integrated on the upgraded fly-by-wire system on Boeing’s advanced F-15s. When the U.S. Air Force announced it would procure the F-15EX to replace the oldest F-15 models in its fleet, the integration work we completed finally paid off: GE was the only engine maker ready to meet the urgent and compelling need the Air Force identified and deliver an engine already qualified, integrated, and tested on the most advanced F-15s in the world.
We continue to deliver on the Lot 1 engine contract awarded in June 2020 and just submitted our bid for Lots 2 and beyond. Our F110 supply chain is active today with 24 different states here in the U.S. all playing a role in producing each engine. In addition to the first lot of F-15EX engines, GE is also delivering on international orders for U.S. allies on both the F-15 and F-16 platform, positioning us as the lowest risk solution to deliver engines for the F-15EX fleet and meet the Air Force’s urgent fielding requirement.
There’s a lot of pride and excitement around this program at GE. Not only do we have the privilege of delivering a proven, reliable product to the U.S. Air Force, but there’s also the legacy behind the product. We’ve continually refined the F110 to offer more and more capability for pilots over its 30+ year life, and we’ve worked to fully integrate it into the fly-by-wire F-15 platform. Now we’re powering the F-15EX through its test campaign. It all adds up to a capable, affordable, and compelling choice for the Lots 2+ contract.
As the stewards of this product and its next chapter, I’m more encouraged than ever that we’re up for the challenge.
To learn more about GE’s F110 engine, visit GEAviation.com/F110
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.