GE Begins Industry's 1st Adaptive Cycle Engine Tests at Arno
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Mar 30, 2022

GE Begins Industry's 1st Adaptive Cycle Engine Tests at Arnold Engineering Development Complex

The U.S. Air Force and GE on March 25th initiated Phase 2 testing of GE’s second XA100 adaptive cycle engine at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC). This milestone marks the first test of an Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) engine at AEDC.

“AEDC’s advanced testing facilities are a unique national asset. We’re thrilled to begin testing here and continue maturing this propulsion system that we believe represents the future of the F-35,” said David Tweedie, GE Edison Works’ general manager for Advanced Combat Engines. “Our testing to date has validated the XA100’s transformational capability, and we’re looking forward to seeing the performance data from Phase 2 testing.”

GE completed Phase 1 testing of this XA100 test engine in November 2021 in Evendale, Ohio. Phase 2 testing will take place entirely at AEDC, representing the capstone of AETP and signaling readiness to transition this technology into full-scale development.

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GE’s XA100 became the world’s first ever flight-weight, three-stream adaptive cycle engine in December 2020 before initiating tests on its second engine in August 2021. GE’s engine is uniquely designed to fit both the F-35A and F-35C without any structural modifications to either airframe, enabling better aircraft range, acceleration, and cooling power to accommodate next-generation mission systems, while also ensuring durability and enhanced readiness.

“The XA100 simultaneously provides transformational improvements in fuel efficiency, thrust, power, and thermal management that simply cannot be matched by legacy propulsion systems,” Tweedie added. “These improvements will help ensure the F-35 remains a preeminent fighter platform not just in the near-term, but for decades into the future, and will enable lower operational and sustainment costs for the services.”

The XA100 combines three key innovations to deliver a generational change in combat propulsion performance:
An adaptive engine cycle that provides both a high-thrust mode for maximum power and a high-efficiency mode for optimum fuel savings and loiter time
A third-stream architecture that provides a step-change in thermal management capability, enabling future mission systems for increased combat effectiveness
Extensive use of advanced component technologies, including ceramic matrix composites (CMC), polymer matrix composites (PMC), and additive manufacturing

These revolutionary innovations increase thrust more than 10%, improve fuel efficiency by 25%, and provide significantly more aircraft heat dissipation capacity, all within the same physical envelope as current propulsion systems. The XA100’s improved fuel efficiency provides significant reduction in carbon emissions and will operate on any U.S. Air Force-approved Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

The XA100 is a product of GE Edison Works, a business unit dedicated to the research, development, and production of advanced military solutions. This business unit has full responsibility for strategy, innovation, and execution of advanced programs.