GE is not only a big player in civil aircraft engines in the Middle East. More than 2,500 GE jet engines power military fighter jets, helicopters, tankers and transports across the region, where GE Aviation has a history stretching back to the 1950s.

Classic fighter jets such as the McDonnell F-4 Phantom and Northrop F-5 Tiger were GE-powered, and many Middle Eastern nations became GE customers as a result. And they’re still there – recently the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) selected GE’s F110 fighter engine to re-engine its twin-engine Boeing F-15S Eagle aircraft fleet. The RSAF will operate the first GE F110-powered F-15s in the region, and it is the first F-15 operator to switch engine models – its F-15s were delivered with Pratt & Whitney F100 engines.

The Royal Saudi agreement calls for the purchase of 65 of GE’s F110-GE-129 engines and a logistics support package, with deliveries to begin in 2008, at a total value of more than $300m. The RSAF cited the F110’s high performance, safety and reliability, and cost-effective operation, as reasons for its choice.


The nations of Turkey, Egypt, Bahrain, Oman and United Arab Emirates already operate the F110 engine in their fleets of single-engine F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft. Turkey is the region’s largest operator of F110 fighter engines, with 260 engines in service or on order, and earlier this year, Turkey ordered an additional 30 F110-powered F-16s. In addition, Turkey recently ordered GE’s Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) modification for its F110 engines already powering 169 F-16 aircraft. The SLEP enhancements will provide up to a 25% improvement in cost-per-flying hour.

A fleet of almost 800 GE turboshaft engines power military helicopters, such as Apache, Black Hawk and KingCobra aircraft, for nine Middle East nations. “GE has been afforded invaluable expertise in operating its military engines in the hot and sandy environments of the Middle East,” said Muhammad Al-Lamadani, GE Aviation sales general manager for the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. “This experience has influenced and enhanced the reliability and durability of our military engines.”

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Source: Flight Daily News