GE Aviation has been awarded a $111.9 million contract with the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for fourth lot T408 turboshaft engines to power the U.S. Marine Corps’ (USMC) Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter.
This latest contract of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) engines follows three previous LRIP contracts for this program, the most recent being in August 2019. GE Aviation’s Lynn, Mass., plant will perform final assembly for the Lot 4 engines.
“This most recent contract represents another big step forward for the T408 program,” said Linda Smith, the T408 Program Director at GE Aviation. “The engine has more than 2,500 flight hours powering the CH-53K in hot and cold environments and through a variety of challenging flight tests. We’re continuing to work closely with NAVAIR and Sikorsky as we approach Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in 2021.”
GE Aviation’s T408 is one of the most advanced rotorcraft engine in its class. The engine offers 7,500 shaft horsepower, which is 57 percent more power than its predecessor, the GE T64. This enhanced power enables the CH-53K to carry a 27,000-pound external load over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles in high/hot weather conditions, tripling the lift capability of the USMC’s legacy CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopter.
Compared to the T64, the T408 also offers 18% better specific fuel consumption that will deliver significant savings over the life of each engine. The T408 also has 63% fewer parts and a more rugged compressor with split casing and erosion coating, allowing for improved reliability and maintainability. An engine mounted FADEC with prognostics and health management will improve performance while helping to reduce maintenance cost.
In addition to GE Aviation’s Lynn, Mass., plant, GE Aviation facilities in Hooksett, N.H.; Rutland, Vt.; Madisonville, Ky., Dayton, Ohio, and Jacksonville, Fla., will provide parts for this contract. MTU Aero Engines is a program participant responsible for the development and production of the power turbine.
GE Aviation delivered its first production T408 engine to NAVAIR on September 30, 2019. The T408 has nearly 11,000 hours of engine operating time on the CH-53K aircraft to date.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Aviation & Missile Center (CCDC AvMC), Boeing, and GE Aviation are also demonstrating T408 engine on the CH-47 Chinook tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. The effort to test high-power engines on Chinook is part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between Boeing, the manufacturer of Chinook helicopters; GE Aviation; and the AvMC. At 7,500 shp, the T408 engine provides a combined 5,000 shp more than legacy Chinook engines, the Lycoming (now Honeywell) T55.