The US Navy has awarded limited-production qualification to General Electric's F414 turbofan which powers the twin-engined McDonnell Douglas F-18E/F. The USN plans to buy 2,300 F414s by 2017, and exports could drive production up further.

The USN approved low-rate initial production of 12 F-18E/Fs and 27 F414 powerplants in March. The first engine will be delivered in July 1998. Production will increase from three to ten engines a month when the aircraft programme enters full-scale production. Rated at 98kN (22,000lb)-thrust, the F414 has 35% more power than the F404, which powers more than 1,200 older F-18s.

Source: Flight International