The United States Air Force (USAF) has selected GE Aviation for negotiations to mature a suite of technologies to include variable cycle technology for the Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program. AETD will enable GE to address the USAF’s propulsion needs for improved fuel burn to provide combat aircraft in the beyond-2020 timeframe with significantly enhanced range, performance and thermal management capabilities. Development work will be conducted at GE Aviation’s headquarters in Evendale, Ohio. Once negotiations are complete and the contract is awarded, GE will share the costs of the program with the Air Force.
The AETD contract maintains a competitive engine technology environment for future Air Force combat aircraft. AETD focuses on maturing technologies developed through the USAF’s ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology (ADVENT) program, which GE Aviation was competitively awarded in fiscal year 2007. Technologies demonstrated through ADVENT that will be validated by AETD include an innovative adaptive three-stream fan, third stream-cooled cooling air, and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials, resulting in improved power extraction, thermal management and inlet recovery while reducing installed drag.
Phase 1 of the AETD program, which runs through mid-fiscal year 2015, includes completing preliminary engine design, testing a full annular combustor rig, high-pressure compressor rig and components using CMCs. Phase 2 of the program, which will conclude in fiscal year 2016, consists of fan rig testing and a full engine core test, allowing for a notional first full engine test as early as 2017.
“We are proud to continue to serve the warfighter in the combat segment and we believe these technologies will provide a new generation of propulsion far superior to current-day systems,” said Jean Lydon-Rodgers, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation’s Military Systems Operation. “AETD technologies are being proven today through GE’s ADVENT program, which will result in up to a 25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency and 30 percent improvement in operating range compared to state-of-the-art engines.”
GE Aviation has developed variable cycle technology for more than 30 years, beginning with the YF120 for the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter project and continuing today with the ADVENT program, which will conclude in 2013 after full engine testing. GE’s adaptive engine approach has internal variable features that adjust bypass ratio and pressure ratio to optimize operation for a wide range of flight conditions.
The AETD program is designed for future strike, bomber and tactical aircraft.
Source/Author: GE Aviation