In The News

GE Aviation allows sneak peek at new top-secret engine

December 3, 2013  |  GE Aviation
GE Aviation

Cincinnati Business Courier

Local members of Ohio’s congressional delegation stopped by GE Aviation’sEvendale complex on Monday to get a sneak peek at the company’s new top-secret fighter jet engine.

U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup and Rep. Mike Turner – both members of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces – visited the plant to witness the first full-engine test of the ADVENT engine.

“I take great pride in being from Ohio,” Wenstrup told reporters. “You mentioned the Wright brothers, but you also have from Ohio the first person to orbit the Earth and the first person to land on the moon. That’s pretty amazing, if you think about this great big world and how much has come from Ohio. So we’d like to continue that legacy here.”

The ADVENT (ADaptive Versatile Engine Technology) program aims to provide 25 percent fuel savings over the most advanced engines currently on the market, or even in development, GE Aviation General Manager of Adaptive Cycle Programs Dan McCormick told reporters.

The adaptive component allows the engine to switch between a high-thrust cycle and a fuel efficient cycle. All current engines are fixed-cycle. The engine also includes ceramic matrix components that are a lot more heat-resistant than current components, meaning they can allow for more fuel efficiency.

GE Aviation tested the engine’s core components back in February. It found that the core met and exceeded the Air Force’s target temperature requirements by 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

The full engine, including the core components, began its first test on Monday. The test will have the engine firing continually for between 80 and 100 hours.

The engine is being developed in a public-private partnership between the U.S. government and GE Aviation. GE Aviation has invested nearly $1 billion in the engine’s development, though the Air Force’s investment wasn’t disclosed. So far, though, no engines have been ordered.

“What’s exciting about this is that this is a partnership investment where ... the Air Force is also at the table, but you also have private industry bringing their capital to the table, so we can advance knowledge and advance capabilities so when we get to that next generation of developing aircraft, we’ll be ready,” Turner said.

The engine is meant to demonstrate the new technologies’ capabilities to the Pentagon.

McCormick said the adaptive technology used in the engine was unique to the military application of the engine. He said the adaptive feature doesn’t bring as much benefit to commercial flights, which are more simple than combat missions.

A GE Aviation spokesman also pointed out that this new, latest-generation engine was being developed and tested at the same site from which GE delivered engines to power WWII planes.

“Seventy years after the first engines were delivered to the Allies, we’re testing the sixth generation in the same place, on the same grounds,” Matt Benvie said.