When the U.S. Navy awarded GE Aviation a $754 million engineering and manufacturing development contract for the F414 engine in 1992, few could have predicted just how versatile the engine would become.
Originally developed for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the F414 now has six applications, racking up close to 5 million flight hours and more than 1,750 engine deliveries.
And nearly three decades after it was first announced, GE’s F414 production line in Lynn, MA, is stilldelivering new, high-performing engines that are delivering for pilots around the world. Here’s a look at some of its most recent headlines.
GE Aviation delivers first F414 engine to South Korea for KF-X program
GE Aviation delivered the first F414-GE-400K engine in May to Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) for South Korea’s next-generation indigenous fighter, known as the KF-X. Developed for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), the F414-powered KF-X will deliver significantly greater mission capability, extended combat radius and longer lifespan compared to current aircraft.
“GE is thrilled to reach this important milestone in the KF-X program,” said Al DiLibero, general manager of GE’s Medium Combat & Trainer Engines department. “Our success so far on this program reflects the strong relationship between the ROKAF, our South Korean industry partners and GE Aviation, and the long and successful history of our engines powering ROKAF aircraft.”
GE has partnered with South Korea many times to power aircraft in their inventory. GE’s F404 engines currently power South Korea’s T-50 Golden Eagle, a high-performance supersonic trainer developed with KAI for the ROKAF. GE’s T700 turboshaft engines power the Korean utility helicopter Surion. Additionally, GE’s F110 engines power the ROKAF’s F-15K aircraft.
Block III Super Hornet takes first flight, powered by F414
The next generation of Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet is here. On June 4, the first Block III test jet took its first flight, powered by GE’s F414-GE-400. The F414’s first application was the original Super Hornet, which went into service in 1998. The engine continues to deliver for Navy pilots stationed around the globe.
The first flight of the next generation of #F18. Watch F287 – the first #SuperHornet Block III test jet – take to the skies. We will deliver two Block III test jets to the @USNavy in the coming weeks. pic.twitter.com/C7jHV5H6e2
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) June 4, 2020
U.S. Navy Blue Angels take delivery of first Super Hornet
GE has powered two previous generations of Blue Angels aircraft—the J79-powered F-4J Phantom II, from 1969 to 1974, and the F404-powered F/A-18A-D Hornet, from 1986 to today. The well-known flight demonstration team plans to transition to the F/A-18 Super Hornet beginning in 2021. According to Boeing, “the unpainted aircraft now enters the flight test and evaluation phase at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. Boeing expects to deliver a total of 11 aircraft for the squadron in 2020.”
Catch a glimpse of the first #SuperHornet aircraft we’ve delivered for the @BlueAngels as it speeds by. Intended to replace their legacy Hornets, the jet is now at Naval Air Station Pax River for flight testing. pic.twitter.com/9PeYK7wYPv
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) June 3, 2020
GE Aviation ships first F414 engine for NASA’s X-59 QueSST
In early May, GE Aviation shipped its first engine for NASA’s X-59 QueSST (short for Quiet SuperSonic Technology), an experimental piloted aircraft designed to fly faster than sound, cruise at 55,000 feet yet generate significantly less noise than previous supersonic aircraft such as the SST or Concorde.
“This is a unique program overall and certainly a new platform for the F414,” said Dave Prescott, GE Aviation Program Manager. “We’re leveraging the proven performance of the engine and allowing it to showcase its versatility.”