Key milestone achieved for CH-53K GE38 engine
GE Aviation, January 13, 2009 - LYNN, Massachusetts -- GE Aviation has completed on schedule the Critical Design Review (CDR) of its new GE38 turboshaft engine, clearing the way for full-engine testing in 2009.
A key component of GE's growth strategy for turboshaft engines, the GE38 will power Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation's next-generation CH-53K heavy lift helicopter being developed for the United States Marine Corps.
In addition to powering the CH-53K, GE envisions the GE38 as the future cornerstone for a new turboshaft/turboprop family, with a long-term production potential of 7,000 engines for various commercial and military applications over the next 30-plus years.
For the CDR, more than 50 representatives from the United States Naval Air Systems (NAVAIR) command and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation were involved, covering all aspects of the engine program from test and manufacturing plans to logistics support.
"We are extremely pleased with the CDR results, and we are excited to support Sikorsky in delivering the increased capability CH-53K to the Marine Corps," said GE38 program manager Harry Nahatis. "Successfully completing this important milestone further validates GE's investment in technology for the GE38 and provides confidence the engine will meet requirements for the CH-53K and other potential applications."
Completion of the CDR concludes a busy 2008 for the GE38. In June, a thorough review of more than 100 design and program management criteria led to finalization of drawings and release of parts for manufacture. Engine component rig tests have been conducted throughout the summer and fall.
Combustion system rig testing validated key performance parameters, including cooling effectiveness, altitude starting, thermal efficiency and exit temperature distribution. Controls component tests verified electrical interfaces and demonstrated functionality of the Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC). Lubrication system simulator tests, designed to ensure the GE38 meets stringent military requirements -- such as pitch-and-roll operation -â€“ are scheduled for early 2009.
Capable of producing more than 7,500 shaft-horsepower at sea level, the GE38 draws upon technologies from the GE27 Modern Technology Demonstrator Engine program for the U.S. military, which set world records for low fuel consumption and power-to-weight ratio, and the T407 turboprop engine developed for the U.S. Navy. A turbofan derivative of the T407 engine, the CFE738, powers the Dassault Falcon 2000 business jet.
The GE38 architecture is updated with new three-dimensional aerodynamics for more efficient airfoil shapes, plus improved cooling schemes and materials for added durability. As a result, the GE38 can deliver approximately 15-20% more power than the T407 engine--depending on the application and the mission--plus significant advances in engine performance and life-cycle cost.
The GE38 also features a more rugged compressor airfoil design to increase durability. To help reduce operation and support costs, the GE38 also features a modular design popularized by the T700 engine family.
In December 2006, Sikorsky selected the GE38 for its three-engine CH-53K aircraft, which will replace the CH-53E SUPER STALLION helicopter powered by GE's T64 engine. The GE38 provides 57% more power, 18% better specific fuel consumption and has 63% fewer parts than the similarly sized GE T64 powering the existing CH-53E helicopter. Engine deliveries are expected to begin in 2010.
GE Aviation, an operating unit of General Electric Company, is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft. GE Aviation also has a global service network to support these offerings.
A subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture, and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
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