If you want to be part of a GE Aviation engine program that is really going places — literally and figuratively — look no further than the T408. This military turboshaft has a lot going on and it continues to build positive momentum.
The T408 made its international public debut at the ILA Berlin Air Show on April 25, performing flawlessly as the powerplant for the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter. Not only did the aircraft wow the crowd with its impressive “physique and roar,” but a Sikorsky pilot lauded the T408 engine’s available power as a top-3 platform enhancement (as compared to its predecessor).
Now that GE Aviation has been awarded its initial T408 production contract, the Production Readiness Team in Lynn is creating a general assembly and prep-to-ship area. Already a timely, intense effort is underway to finalize assembly processes and get the hardware and equipment in place to build the inaugural production engine.
“This is a great opportunity and commitment for us, and the Assembly & Test and Facilities teams are on their way to designing and transforming an ideal space to accommodate this work,” said Linda Smith, T408 Program Director. “We’re optimistic we’ll have a long-standing production run in support of this aircraft and potentially others down the road.”
Each CH-53K helicopter will be equipped with three T408s that will provide enough power to carry a 27,000-lb. external load over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles in high/hot weather conditions, a roughly 3X improvement over the existing CH-53E powered by the T64.
Living up to its moniker, the CH-53K King Stallion executed an external lift of a 36,000-pound payload at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center earlier this year, achieving a maximum weight on the single center point cargo hook. This milestone marks a critical flight-envelope expansion activity.
No doubt the T408, ripe with actions and activity, will be a successful engine for the military and GE Aviation.