GE Aviation (General Electric Co. IW500/3) has started testing the first turbine engine it developed for the Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) program, a cooperative effort it has been pursuing with the U.S. Army since 2011. GE noted the new engine has been designed to achieve a 35% reduction in specific fuel consumption, 80% improvement in power-to-weight, 20% improvement in design life, and 45% reduction in production and maintenance costs relative to currently fielded engines.
Five years ago, the U.S. Army chose GE to oversee the FATE cooperative program: it is working on a 5,000-lb, 10,000-shaft horsepower class turboshaft engine that incorporates technologies applicable to existing aircraft and future rotorcraft requirements.
The new engine test follows GE Aviation’s successful development last year of the FATE compressor, combustor, and turbine rig tests. The FATE compressor rig recorded the highest single-spool compressor pressure ratio in GE Aviation’s history; the combustor test incorporated ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) in the combustor; and the FATE turbine rig was built using additive manufacturing techniques.