The U.S. Army has selected GE Aviation’s T901-GE-900 engine for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), the U.S. Army’s endeavor to re-engine its Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks and Boeing AH-64 Apaches.
“We are honored to be chosen by the Army to continue powering their Black Hawks and Apaches for decades to come,” said Tony Mathis, president and CEO of GE Aviation’s military business. “We’ve invested in the resources and infrastructure to execute immediately, and our team is ready to get to work on delivering the improved capabilities of the T901 to the Warfighter.”
The T901 incorporates many proven technologies that will advance Army Aviation into the future of vertical lift. GE uses additive manufacturing to create advanced, cost effective parts with shorter development time that reduce fuel burn, decrease weight and increase durability. GE also uses ceramic matrix composite (CMC) components in the T901, which are lighter and more durable than metal parts and can withstand higher temperatures. GE’s technology stack also includes 3D aerodynamic design tools, advanced cooling technologies and sand tolerant technologies. GE has spent decades developing and maturing these technologies in its commercial and military engines businesses.
The T901’s single-spool core design, carried over from the T700, is the key to its low cost, growth, reliability, maintainability and reduced life-cycle costs.
GE Aviation and the US Army successfully installed a full-scale T901 engine mockup into an Apache and Black Hawk in December of 2017, demonstrating that the T901 seamlessly integrates with both airframes. GE’s experience in powering these aircraft missions with the T700 engine over the past four decades has informed its development of the T901
GE Aviation’s Lynn facility delivered its inaugural production T700 turboshaft engine for the Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk in March of 1978, marked by a ceremony that included then Army Black Hawk Program Manager COL Richard Kenyon who challenged the GE team to “be responsive to the pilots, crew chiefs and mechanics.”
GE has embraced that challenge, continuously incorporating new technology and materials to enhance T700 reliability and performance and reduce its cost. Today, more than 4,000 Black Hawks of all types are in service, providing vital military and commercial aviation support to the U.S. and 30 other countries around the world.
Now, GE stands ready to take the Black Hawk, Apache, and the U.S. Army into the future of rotorcraft aviation on another successful 40-year ride with its next-generation turboshaft.
“The T700’s 40-year track record as the highly reliable, single-spool workhorse powerplant for Army Aviation is indisputable,” said Ron Hutter, executive director of the T901 program. “We are proud of our heritage, we have invested for the future and we’re ready to go.”
GE has invested $9 billion in maturing technologies applicable to the T901 and more than $300 million to develop and test turboshaft-specific technologies. Additionally, GE has invested more than $10 billion in their supply chain over the past decade, including eight new facilities, ten plant expansions and one-and-a-half million square feet of new, advanced manufacturing space in the U.S.
GE’s T901 turboshaft design, manufacturing, assembly and testing will be supported by the following site locations: Lynn, Mass.; Auburn, Ala.; Huntsville, Ala.; Norwich, N.Y.; Newark, Del.; Loves Park, Ill.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Madisonville, Ky.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Muskegon, Mich.; Hooksett, N.H.; Asheville, N.C.; West Chester, Evendale, and Dayton, Ohio; and Rutland, Vt.