GE's GE38 Engine Initiates First Full Engine Testing
GE ushered in a new era of helicopter propulsion on June 24 when the GE38 engine began its first full engine test at GE Aviation's Lynn, Massachusetts, facility.
Selected to power Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation's CH-53K helicopter for the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in December 2006, the GE38 represents the cornerstone for a new turboshaft/turboprop engine family, with a revenue potential of more than $4 billion including heavy-lift applications.
"This important milestone marks the beginning of the design validation phase of the program and provides confidence the engine will be ready on time to deliver unprecedented capability to the Marine Corps," said Harry Nahatis, GE38 Program Manager.
Testing of the GE38 is expected to run through 2011, concurrent with a full U.S. military qualification test program. This testing, conducted under a System Development and Demonstration (SDD) program contract, includes five ground-test engines that will accumulate more than 5,000 engine test hours, plus 20 flight-test engines for the CH-53K development aircraft.
Capable of producing more than 7,500 shaft-horsepower at sea level, the GE38 architecture is updated with new aerodynamics for more efficient operation, plus improved cooling schemes and materials for added durability.
The GE38 can provide up to 20% lower fuel consumption compared to other engines in its class for longer range and/or heavier payload.
Added power provides mission flexibility and enhanced hot/high aircraft performance, while its simplified design translates to improved reliability and a 50-80% operating and support cost advantage.
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