US Army to accelerate helicopter engine project (video)
The US Army is considering ways to accelerate its Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) as the project continues to move forward.
While the army was currently looking at production of a new engine beginning from the 2026 timeframe, Rich Kretzchmar, project manager for ITEP, told Shephard that they are looking into how the programme could be moved forward faster.
The ITEP programme is currently in the preliminary design review (PDR) stage.
‘While the programme is constrained by available resources and processes… we have identified several ways to accelerate the programme, particularly in the [engineering and manufacture development] phase,’ Kretzchmar explained.
ITEP has a series of 'knowledge points' that enable officials to assess progression of the project and providing a means of assessing whether they are to invest the necessary resources to accelerate the programme.
‘Our next knowledge point to do that is at the PDR phase of the programme,’ said Kretzchmar, ‘We will hopefully invest in the long lead items so [the companies] can get their first engines to test a year sooner than in our current schedule.’
The programme recently received its Milestone A approval from the US Army acquisition executive in June 2016, which resulted in design contract awards to both GE Aviation and the Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC), a partnership between Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney.
This PDR phase of the programme will continue for 18 months following which a downselect to a single competitor will occur in the EMD phase, which is scheduled for 2018.
ITEP intends to replace the T700 engine, which is currently utilised on both the UH-60M Black Hawk and the AH-64E Apache. The UH-60M Black Hawk currently operates with two GE T700-701D turboshafts while the AH-64E utilises two GE T700-GE701C engines.
GE Aviation is offering up the single spool engine GE3000 and ATEC is offering the HPW3000.
The new engine, when selected, will improve power by 50%, fuel consumption by 25% and improve reliability while maintaining the same size and weight constraints that are currently adhered to with the T700.
The US Army is anticipating 6,125 engines will be needed to support its fleets.
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