U.S. Army Partnering with Boeing, GE Aviation to Test High-Power Engines on CH-47 Chinook Helicopter

The U.S. Army is partnering with Boeing and GE Aviation to test high-power engines on a CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter, the service announced.

The two companies are working with the Aviation Development Directorate (ADD)-Eustis of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center (CCDC AvMC) for the effort as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

This demonstration, with the GE T408 turboshaft engines, is to evaluate the feasibility and benefits of higher-power engines while assessing and reducing the technical risks of integrating advanced engines in a Chinook aircraft. Ground testing is scheduled to begin in October and run for six weeks with 25 hours of flight tests planned immediately afterward.

At 7,500 shaft horsepower, the T408 engine provides a combined 5,000 shp more than legacy Chinook engines, the Lycoming (now Honeywell) T55.

Three 7,500 shp-rated T408 (GE38) engines provide the power for the U.S. Marine Corps’ new CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter, enabling it to carry a 27,000-pound external load over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles in Navy high/hot weather conditions.

T408-GE-400 turboshaft engines
T408-GE-400 turboshaft engines on a CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter.

GE is also developing a derivative T408 turboshaft engine which incorporates learnings from the Army’s Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) program and technologies for the larger Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) program with the intent to deliver the Army a military-qualified, off-the-shelf engine that meets FLRAA requirements.

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