The U.S. Army and GE Aviation successfully completed engine test of the first Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE), designed to meet a series of aggressive goals including a 35% reduction in specific fuel consumption, 80% improvement in power-to-weight, 20% improvement in design life and 45% reduction in production and maintenance costs relative to currently fielded engines. In addition to increasing hot-and-high payload and performance, the Army is also emphasizing extended range and endurance. The second FATE engine will begin testing early next year.
“We’re thrilled with the results from the first FATE full engine test, which completed all primary objectives with more than 40 hours of run time and nearly 1000 steady state and transient data points. This risk-reduction vehicle is a key step in the program towards our final build and performance demonstration,” said Harry Nahatis, VP and General Manager of GE Aviation’s Turboshaft Engine Department. “From a pure design capability standpoint, the FATE program is the most advanced turboshaft development engine GE has tested in our history, incorporating an extensive use of commercially developed technologies for the next generation of propulsion. We’re proud to work with the Army in maturing these breakthrough technologies and we’re looking forward to applying our learnings to the second engine test early next year.”
The first engine-level test followed the successful completion of FATE compressor, combustor and turbine rig tests. The FATE compressor rig recorded the highest single-spool compressor pressure ratio in GE Aviation’s history. The combustor test incorporated GE’s most extensive use of ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) in the combustion module, with the CMC combustion dome and liners allowing for unprecedented high-temperature capability and weight reduction for better performance. The FATE turbine rig was built using additive manufacturing techniques for faster construction and lower development costs. These rigs followed FATE inlet particle separator tests completed in 2014. Additionally, the FATE engine demonstrated advanced controls technologies, sensor suite, and algorithms for improved aircraft performance and sustainment needs. These controls advancements are key components of next generation control architectures.
In 2011, GE was competitively awarded the $45 million FATE cost-share program to design a 5,000-10,000 shp class turboshaft engine that demonstrates technologies applicable to existing aircraft and future rotorcraft requirements such as the US Department of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. Likewise, these technologies can be incorporated into new engines including the T901 which GE has offered for the ITEP program, or upgrades to existing engines such as the T700 and T408.
“Between the T408, T901 and FATE programs, we have a unique multigenerational product plan that shares technologies across our military rotorcraft efforts, incorporates commercial engine technologies and fuses them together in a low-risk manner to drive high-performance and affordable engines applicable to both military and commercial aircraft,” said Tony Mathis, President of GE Aviation’s Military Systems Operation.