GE Aviation completed testing its engine core for the ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology (ADVENT) program with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory on February 6, 2013, achieving the highest combination of compressor and turbine temperatures ever recorded in aviation history.
The accomplishment is a result of GE’s most advanced core propulsion technologies including lightweight, heat-resistant ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials. These core technologies, along with an adaptive low pressure spool, result in a 25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, a 30 percent increase in operating range and a five-to-ten percent improvement in thrust compared to today’s fixed-cycle engines.
The ADVENT program is scheduled to conclude this year with a full engine test. GE will continue to mature the ADVENT technologies through the Air Force’s Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) program, which will conclude in 2016 following fan rig testing and a core engine test.
The core test began on October 4, 2012, and included 16 test periods and more than 60 operating hours focused on reaching the demonstration point, which occurred on February 6, 2013. In reaching the demonstration conditions, the GE ADVENT core achieved the highest combination of compressor and turbine temperatures ever achieved in the aviation industry. This successful test not only lays the foundation for the full engine testing planned later this year, it also provides proof of a solid advanced technology suite for the AETD program and the expected follow-on programs.
"We couldn't be happier with the ADVENT core testing results, which validate the technology choices that will enable the Air Force to meet the aggressive performance targets required for future missions," said Jeff Martin, GE Aviation’s general manager for advanced programs. “GE Aviation is honored to partner with the Air Force in the demonstration of these unique technologies.”
“This is a critical milestone that gives us great confidence as we prepare for the full engine test in ADVENT later this year and move forward on the design of the AETD engine,” said Dan McCormick, GE Aviation’s general manager for the ADVENT & AETD programs. “We’ll integrate these proven ADVENT technologies into our AETD engine, along with advanced controls and exhaust system designs.”
GE Aviation also completed the Initial Design Review milestone for the AETD program with the Air Force on February 8, 2013. This milestone marks the point at which the team is ready to progress through preliminary design of the engine on the path to the Preliminary Design Review milestone scheduled for November 2014.
Unlike fixed cycle engine architectures powering today’s aircraft, variable cycle architectures are designed to operate efficiently in conditions across the entire flight envelope, including subsonic and supersonic speeds. GE’s adaptive cycle design includes a third stream of air that can be utilized for maximum fuel efficiency and provides thermal management advantages to a conventional engine.
The ADVENT engine is GE Aviation’s most recent development program to successfully demonstrate the variable cycle architecture. Following initial studies by Gerhard Neumann in the 1960s, GE’s YJ101 was the first full engine to demonstrate variable cycle capabilities in 1976. GE built on the YJ101 experience to produce the YF120 variable cycle engine for the Advanced Tactical Fighter project, which set the world supercruise record in 1990.
The ADVENT and AETD variable cycle engines are improving on the YF120 design while integrating technologies developed through GE Aviation’s $600 million investment in commercial engine programs, such as high pressure compressors and lightweight CMCs in the high- and low-pressure turbines that result in reduced engine weight and minimize the need for cooling. The ADVENT engine will be GE’s highest overall pressure ratio military engine, resulting in a significant fuel consumption improvement compared to today’s engines.
The AETD contract returns a competitive fighter engine environment for future generation military aircraft. GE is the only engine manufacturer to be competitively awarded contracts to develop variable cycle technology for the ADVENT and AETD programs. Both programs are designed for future strike, bomber and other tactical aircraft.
Source: GE Aviation
Date: Feb 18, 2013