The US Army awarded contracts to GE Aviation and a Honeywell/Pratt & Whitney joint venture to deliver preliminary designs of a 3,000shp-class turboshaft engine to power a broad range of military rotorcraft.

GE received a $102 million contract and the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC) accepted a $154 million deal on 22 August from the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

GE and the ATEC joint venture will submit competing preliminary engine designs within two years, allowing the army to down-select to a single bidder for launching full-scale development.

Both companies are competing to win the most significant development contract for military helicopter engines since GE’s T700 entered development 40 years ago.

The army’s Improved Turbine Engine Programme (ITEP) plans to deliver an engine early in the next decade that will replace the T700 with a new design that delivers more power and consumes less fuel, yet fits into the same space reserved for engines in the Boeing AH-64 Apache and Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky UH-60.

The ITEP engine will be a candidate to re-engine the AH-64 and UH-60, as well as power smaller versions of the high-speed Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family.

The incumbent GE is offering the army a design called the GE3000, featuring a single-spool architecture. Such a design minimizes complexity, weight and maintenance costs, but requires the single spool to handle all of the thrust load. Nonetheless, GE officials say the GE3000 can accommodate significant thrust growth.

The challenger engine is offered by ATEC with a dual-spool architecture. Much like a modern turbofan engine, the HPW3000 divides the thrust load between a low-pressure and high-pressure spool. ATEC argues the architecture allows for greater thrust growth, while still meeting the army’s requirements for maintenance cost and weight.

Source: Cirium Dashboard