T901 Flight Test Engine
The Government has accepted the first GE Aerospace T901 flight test engine designated for Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Competitive Prototypes. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of GE Aerospace) VIEW ORIGINAL

LYNN, Mass. — On September 28, 2023, the Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program achieved a significant milestone. The government has accepted the first General Electric Aerospace T901 flight test engine, with the second T901 engine currently going through the acceptance process. Both engines are on-track to be delivered by the government to the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) competitive prototype vendors by the end of October 2023.

The Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) accepted the engine at GE Aerospace’s Lynn, Massachusetts facility, marking the first step in the government delivering flight test engines for the two FARA Competitive Prototype (FARA-CP) aircraft — Bell’s 360 Invictus and Sikorsky’s Raider X. The engine handover highlights the longstanding partnership between DCMA, the Army and GE.

“DCMA is pleased to accept this first General Electric T901 flight test engine,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Hrad, the DCMA Aircraft Propulsion – GE Commander. “This engine represents the culmination of several years of working closely with the Improved Turbine Engine Program and GE Aerospace to ensure our soldiers are equipped with the best achievable equipment they need to safely fight and win.”

Engine Verifications for Flight Test

GE Aerospace initiated testing of the first T901 FT Engines in the spring/summer of 2023. Both test engines completed a series of rigorous functional, safety, and performance tests to substantiate U.S. Government acceptance for use as the FARA-CP powerplants.

Why ITEP: Solving Present and Future Power Needs

The T901 will power FARA and replace the T700 engine currently used on all AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The T901’s fuel efficiency will improve the Army’s enduring aircraft fleet’s range, loiter time, and fuel consumption and restore high hot 6k/95-degree operational capability. The engine’s reliability and increased life expectancy also reduces maintenance and sustainment costs.

The T901 combines additive manufacturing, ceramic matrix composites and traditionally manufactured components to generate the added power — 1,000 shaft horsepower increase; 3,000 shaft horsepower total — at roughly the same size and weight of its predecessor, the GE T700.

Additionally, the T901 engine will introduce predictive logistics that drive increased time on wing and improved reliability. The T901 engine incorporates an onboard Engine Health Management System that supports Army Predictive and Prognostic Maintenance goals by using health monitoring sensors, and embedded component health models and algorithms. These technologies provide data analysis and advanced component life calculations that enable longer component usage, reduce demand for spare and replacement parts, and reduce soldier workload per system.

The T901 delivers significantly increased reach and lethality for the enduring and future fleet. The increased power, performance, and reliability is a combat multiplier and critical to Multi-Domain Operations for the Army of 2030.

ITEP is part of the Aviation Turbine Engines Project Office (ATE PO), one of nine Program Executive Office, Aviation project offices. Located at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., the ATE PO is responsible for centrally managing the Army’s rotary wing turbine engine and electrical power capability for U.S. Army Aviation and coalition partners.