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US Army funds demonstration of variable-speed turbine engine

A Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney joint venture will demonstrate a variable-speed turbine engine for the US Army.

The Alternate Concept Engine (ACE) awarded to the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC) builds upon the joint venture’s HPW3000, a 3,000shp turboshaft engine in development to compete to power a future family of high-speed, military rotorcraft.

“We are excited to play such a significant role in meeting the needs of army aviation through our involvement in the ACE programme,” says Craig Madden, ATEC president.

By varying the rotations per minute of the engine shaft between vertical lift and wing-borne cruise modes, variable-speed technology can offer a breakthrough in fuel efficiency for future rotorcraft.

"ACE gives us the opportunity to build on a very successful demonstration of our HPW3000 engine, and to add the variable speed turbine and other advanced features that are directly applicable to future vertical lift," Madden says.

The army also has selected ATEC and GE Aviation to compete for the Improve Turbine Engine (ITE) programme. The HPW3000 is competing with the GE3000 to replace the T700 as the powerplant for the Boeing AH-64 Apache and Sikorsky UH-60. The ITE engine also could power smaller variants in the Future Vertical Lift programme, if the army decides to launch development after about five years.

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