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The GE Aviation GE300 engine - ITEP Candidate

PEO Aviation Improved Turbine Engine (ITEP)

On August 22, 2016, the ITE program awarded two Fixed Price Incentive Fee (FPIF) Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) contracts to develop a preliminary design for Army Aviation’s next generation turboshaft engine that will replace the current engine in the Black Hawk and Apache aircraft. 

The ITE is a form, fit replacement for the T700 General Electric (GE) series engine (701D) that is in current operational use within the Black Hawk and Apache fleets. With the form, fit design the ITE will fit inside the existing engine compartments of both the H-60 and AH-64E and provide significant power enhancement (3,000 SHP), increased fuel efficiency, and decreased sustainment costs.  The additional capability that the ITE provides will give Army Aviation the ability to:

·       Perform worldwide, and in environments ranging from standard sea level to high/hot conditions, 6,000 feet pressure altitude / 95° Fahrenheit (6K/95°). 

·       Significantly increase aircraft range, payload, and endurance.

·       Improve aviation logistics supportability.

On August 31st, officials from the U.S. Army PEO Aviation's Improved Turbine Engine/Future Vertical Lift (ITE/FVL) Project Office -- Richard Kretzschmar and Bob Sheibely (FVL) and LTC Curt Kuetemeyer (ITE) -- briefed the media and provided the following program insight in response to query:

(1) Why did ATEC receive about $50M more than GE for the current effort?

ATEC got more money in their contract because they asked for more in their proposal.  “Sometimes it happens like that.”

(2) When will the downselect to a single supplier be?

Current planning sees the Army downselect to one ITE supplier at the end of the just-commenced Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract phase.  That is, the Army will carry only one contractor into Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) when that phase commences – currently planned for Q3FY18.  EMD will see that single vendor complete design and provide ITE units for testing.  First engine testing seen as happening in FY21.  (Note: It is possible, but not likely at all, that the Army will carry forward both contractors into EMD.  Indeed, while current funding will support only one EMD contractor, the Army has outlined a contingency plan to carry forward both AETC and GE.)

(3)  What’s the relationship between ITEP and FVL?  Does Army envision ITEP to be applicable to Future Vertical Lift (FVL)?  Perhaps for FVL capability sets 1-2 or 3?

Yes… ITE will be in the fleet for many, many years… ITE is being built to extend the service lives of the Blackhawk and Apache but will also have applicability to FVL.  The Army expects that FVL Capability Set 1 and 2 could be powered by ITEP, but not Capability Set 3, based on the size of that aircraft.  But the ITE technology is certainly applicable. 

(4) How does the schedule for re-engining Blackhawks and Apaches square with the FVL schedule? 

The Army views ITEP as a bridge to FVL, but there will certainly be concurrency between ITEP and FVL. ITE Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) is currently planned for FY24 and Full Rate Production (FRF) could commence by FY26.  The Army foresees FVL Initial Operational Capability in FY2031, but it will take us a long time (30 years) to replace the Blackhawk and Apache aircraft and it is not certain that the Army will be replacing them on a one-for-one basis. 

(5)  How many ITE engines does the Army project will be built at what cost?

The Army Acquisition Objective (AAO) for ITE is 5650 engines.  Two engines for every aircraft in the fleet plus spares.  The total ITE program cost is about $10 billion in FY16 dollars.

(6)  What does the ITE promise to deliver?

ITE provides revolutionary (versus evolutionary) change in capability.  As advertised:

·       50% increase in power over current 701B engine

·       13% improvement in fuel consumption

·       Similar weight and size to the current engine.

·       As reliable as the current engine with 20% increase in design life.

There is no plan for an ITE Block 2 at present and the Army is not funded to do any modification to ITE.  That said, the Army is targeting a 25% increase in power over the lifetime of the engine… essentially what was achieved with the current engine over its life.