The Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC) has protested the U.S. Army’s decision to award General Electric an Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contract for its Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP), seeking to develop next generation of Black Hawk and Apache helicopter engines.
The protest was filed on Feb 19 with the Government Accountability Office (GAO). ATEC is a joint venture of Honeywell International Inc. and Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corporation (UTC).
ATEC President Craig Madden said, “In our review of the evaluation, we clearly offered the best value through a combination of a highly rated and technically superior engine that was judged to be much lower risk, and believe we did so significantly under the government’s budget. We are requesting that the government review these facts and award the ITEP contract to ATEC, the best engine and the one that our warfighters and taxpayers deserve.”
The ITEP, formerly called the Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine (AATE) program, is the U.S. Army’s endeavor to re-engine its fleet of Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters. Apaches and Black Hawks are currently powered by General Electric (GE) T700 engine.
The contenders for the project were ATEC HPW3000 engine designated as T900, and GE Aviation’s GE3000 engine designated as T901-GE-900. The T901-GE-900 was selected for the EMD phase of the program earlier this month and this decision is now being protested by ATEC.
The engine that is ultimately selected will also power certain variants of the Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family of advanced rotorcraft including the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). ITEP is intended to revolutionize Army aviation to meet the demanding requirements of the coming decades.