WASHINGTON: The US Army announced Tuesday that has started testing its powerful new helicopter engine, called the Improved Turbine Engine Program, which is slated to replace engines in the service’s current helicopter fleet and power its next-generation scout helicopter.
According to the Army, the General Electric-made T901 engine reached the first engine to test milestone — meaning the first engine is ready for testing — and will now undergo 100 hours of “run time” as part of rigorous testing. The service awarded GE an engineering and manufacturing development contract for the engine in 2019.
The Army had planned to completed the ITEP first engine to test in January, according to a Defense News report from last October.
The GE T901 engine will replace the T700 engine in the Army’s fleets of UH-60 Black Hawks and AH-64 Apaches. It will also power the Army’s future scout helicopter, the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, which Bell Textron and Lockheed Martin Sikorsky are competing for. The ITEP engine has 3,000-shaft horsepower and is 50% more powerful than the T700, with 25% improved fuel consumption, according to GE.
“We’re excited to get testing started on this engine. It’s the biggest milestone to date in the ITE program and the result of the strong collaboration between the GE and U.S. Army teams,” said GE T901 Program Director Tom Champion in a statement. “The early testing data we’ve gathered indicates the engine is performing in line with our expectations and Army requirements.”
More than 700 sensors will collect data during the first stage of testing. After completing the first engine to test stage, the engine will begin engine qualification, the service stated. During the summer, several ITEP engines will be tested against Army Military Airworthiness Certification Criteria standards. If the engine passes, then it will lead to ground and flight worthiness released.
Once the process is complete, according to the Army, the engine will have reached around 1,500 hours of full-scale ground testing for the Preliminary Flight Rating phase and 5,000 hours of testing for full engine qualification.
In December, the service awarded Boeing a $240 million contract to integrate ITEP onto AH-64E attack helicopters through 2026.
Army begins testing on ITEP engine – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense is written by Andrew Eversden for breakingdefense.com