General Electric is stepping up its campaign to equip the Boeing F-15E with its F110-129 engine following the completion of an extensive field service evaluation (FSE) with the US Air Force. The move comes despite an initial rejection by the USAF of an unsolicited offer of an F110 refit programme.

The results of the FSE are being used to support international sales campaigns in Greece and Israel, the first of which could be decided by the end of next month. GE is continuing its drive to re-engine the USAF F-15E fleet, as part of what it says is a wider plan to reduce life cycle costs and improve readiness.

Two F-15Es operated by the 422 Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis AFB were converted for the FSE, which began with the first flight on 11 April, 1997. The memorandum of agreement with the Air Combat Command (ACC) originally called for the FSE to last for 1,000 engine flying hours. "As we got close to 1,000 hours the air force requested an extension- [the engines] were very reliable and the maintainers liked them," says F110/F-15 product marketing manager Mark Miller.

Six engines were supplied for the FSE, although only four were used as there were no engine removals during the 22-month evaluation. The two aircraft amassed a total of 1,915 engine flight hours by early January, when the FSE was terminated. "There were no shop visits and no in-flight shutdowns," says Miller, adding that the F110-powered F-15s achieved a mission completion rate of 99.8%.

The most significant problem was a number of false fault indications from the engine monitoring system computer, later solved with corrected software, Miller says.

Although GE's immediate F110 efforts seem focused on international F-15 and Lockheed Martin F-16 competitions, it is "-continuing to work with ACC and the USAF in the Pacific and Europe" over its re-engining bid.

GE confirms that its recent proposal has been rejected "-but we are going to continue to promote the idea," says Miller. The original submission suggested re-engining F-15Es powered by the Pratt & Whitney F100-220. According to the GE proposal, this would have allowed ACC to pass on the -220s to the air-to-air dedicated F-15Cs powered by the older F100-100.

Source: Flight International