The U.S. Army awarded two contracts for new turboshaft engines designs to improve the performance and the affordability of engines powering its fleet of Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. One award, for a reported $154 million, went to the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC), a joint venture of Honeywell (IW500/30) and Pratt & Whitney; the other, for a reported $102 million, went to GE Aviation (General Electric Corp. IW500/6).
The two-year contracts are part of a “preliminary design review” for a replacement engine design that the Army plans to select in 2018. At that time, the Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) program will proceed into the engineering and manufacturing development stage.
The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter is a Sikorsky-designed, twin-engine utility helicopter. The AH-64 is a Boeing-designed, twin-engine attack helicopter, and both have been in production for over 40 years. Current models of both aircraft are powered by twin General Electric T700 turboshaft engines.
The Army’s objective is to replace the GE T700 engines powering an estimated 3,000 UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters with a more powerful and fuel-efficient design. It has specified that the new engines should be 50% more powerful, 25% more fuel efficient, and provide 20% longer performance life than the current engines, while also meeting stringent performance goals for high altitude (6,000 feet) and high heat (95°F/35°C.)