GE has initiated testing on its second XA100 adaptive cycle engine as part of the U.S. Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP). Testing began on August 26, 2021, at GE’s Evendale, Ohio, altitude test facility. Tests successfully validated the engine’s ability to deliver transformational propulsion capability to current and future fighter aircraft. Engine prototypes assembled as part of AETP are designed to fit and integrate directly into the F-35. This is GE’s final planned prototype engine as part of AETP. Full-scale prototype engine testing in the AETP program is the capstone of a multi-year technology maturation and risk reduction effort to bring an adaptive cycle engine to full maturity in close partnership with the U.S. Air Force. GE’s first XA100 engine tests began in December 2020, marking the world’s first ever run of a flight-weight three-stream adaptive cycle engine.
“The U.S. Air Force and Congress have invested more than $4 billion in adaptive cycle engine development over the past 14 years to mature its associated technologies. We’re confident this phase of the program will significantly reduce risk and prepare GE for a low-risk engineering and manufacturing development program, consistent with Air Force objectives. Getting our second prototype engine into the test cell means we’re one step closer to getting this transformational technology into the hands of the warfighter.The Air Force has put a tremendous amount of rigor into the AETP product requirements. We believe we’re delivering on those requirements, and a big reason for that is our close collaboration with the Air Force. Our partnership there has been a critical factor in our success,” said David Tweedie, GE Edison Works’ General Manager for Advanced Combat Engines.
The XA100-GE-100 engine combines three key innovations to deliver a generational change in combat propulsion performance:
- An adaptive engine cycle that provides both a high-thrust mode for maximum power and a high-efficiency mode for optimum fuel savings and loiter time
- A third-stream architecture that provides a step-change in thermal management capability, enabling future mission systems for increased combat effectiveness
- Extensive use of advanced component technologies, including ceramic matrix composites (CMC), polymer matrix composites (PMC), and additive manufacturing
- These revolutionary innovations increase thrust 10%, improve fuel efficiency by 25%, and provide significantly more aircraft heat dissipation capacity, all within the same physical envelope as current propulsion systems.
- The XA100’s improved fuel efficiency provides significant reduction in carbon emissions. The engine will also operate on any U.S. Air Force-approved biofuels.
Testing on the second XA100 will allow GE to continue gathering high-quality test data and further mature the engine’s advanced componentry and revolutionary three-stream design. Once first phase testing is complete in Evendale, GE plans to test the engine at the U.S. Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) to finish out all planned AETP testing activities. The XA100 is a product of GE Edison Works, a business unit dedicated to the research, development, and production of advanced military solutions. The three-stream adaptive cycle design can direct air to the bypass third stream for increased fuel efficiency and cooling or to the core and fan streams for additional thrust and performance. The 45,000 lbf (20,412 kgf; 200 kN) thrust class engine is expected to be significantly more powerful and efficient than existing low-bypass turbofans. This business unit has full responsibility for strategy, innovation, and execution of advanced programs.
GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electric, is headquartered in Evendale, Ohio, outside Cincinnati. GE Aviation is among the top aircraft engine suppliers, and offers engines for the majority of commercial aircraft. GE Aviation is part of the General Electric conglomerate, which is one of the world’s largest corporations. The division operated under the name of General Electric Aircraft Engines (GEAE) until September 2005. GE Aviation’s main competitors in the engine market are Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney. GE operates two joint ventures with Safran Aircraft Engines of France, CFM International and CFM Materials. GE rises to the challenge of building a world that works. For more than 125 years, GE has invented the future of industry, and today the company’s dedicated team, leading technology, and global reach and capabilities help the world work more efficiently, reliably, and safely. GE’s people are diverse and dedicated, operating with the highest level of integrity and focus to fulfill GE’s mission and deliver for its customers.