GE Aviation: Huntsville to play key role in U.S. Army helicopter engine project

GE Aviation's T901-GE-900 engine

GE is opening two CMC material production facilities in Huntsville to ensure there is sufficient production capability for future engines like the T901.

Posted: Feb 6, 2019 8:27 AM

GE Aviation says Huntsville will play a key role in the development of a new helicopter engine now that the U.S. Army’s has picked the company’s T901-GE-900 engine.

Here’s what the company said in a press release:

The U.S. Army's selection of GE Aviation's T901-GE-900 engine for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP) is a big win for the state of Alabama.

GE's growing advanced manufacturing facilities in Huntsville will have a major role to play in creating a key material for this engine. The T901 is GE Aviation's engine for ITEP, the U.S. Army's undertaking to re-engine its Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawks and Boeing AH-64 Apaches. For more than three decades, GE Aviation's ultra-reliable T700 engine has been powering missions for Apaches, Black Hawks and other military aircraft programs, accumulating more than 100 million flight hours.

In its successful bid for the $517 million US Army ITEP contract, GE Aviation proved the benefit of incorporating advanced hot section materials such as ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) in the T901 engine. GE is opening two CMC material production facilities in Huntsville to ensure there is sufficient production capability for future engines like the T901. GE invested $200 million in the facilities, which will employ up to 300 new workers.

"We are honored to be chosen by the Army to continue powering their Black Hawks and Apaches for decades to come," said Tony Mathis, president and CEO of GE Aviation's military business. "We've invested in the resources and infrastructure to execute immediately, and our team is ready to get to work on delivering the improved capabilities of the T901 to the Warfighter."

GE has invested $9 billion in maturing technologies applicable to the T901 and more than $300 million to develop and test turboshaft-specific technologies. Additionally, GE has invested more than $10 billion in their supply chain over the past decade. GE Aviation Huntsville is one of eight new facilities, ten plant expansions and one-and-a-half million square feet of new, advanced manufacturing space in the U.S. This robust, first-in-class supply chain stands ready to deliver T901 engines to the Army.

The full modularity of the T901's single-spool core provides the Army with superior fix-forward maintainability. Combat units can swap out modular parts of the engine in the field and travel with fewer full-sized spare engines, simplifying logistical footprints and supply lines. The fully modular design also offers superior growth potential at a lower cost through incremental improvements to engine modules, a significant advantage to meet the Army's FVL requirements. The U.S. Army is also expecting the ITEP engine to meet Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft requirements for Future Vertical Lift (FVL).

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