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The History Of General Electric Aircraft Engines

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GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electric, is headquartered in Evendale, Ohio (a Cincinnati suburb). GE Aviation is the top supplier of aircraft engines in the world and offers engines for the majority of commercial aircraft. GE Aviation is part of GE Infrastructure, itself a major part of the conglomerate General Electric, one of the world's largest corporations. The division operated under the former name of General Electric Aircraft Engines or GEAE until September of 2005.

In 1942, General Electric developed the first US jet engine in Lynn, Massachusetts. It continues to make jet engines for the United States Department of Defense and subsidiary services. Engines assembled at this plant include the F404, F414, T700, and CFE738 military power plants. The plant at Lynn also produces the CT7 commercial turboprop power plant and commercial versions of the T700 (also CT7).

The Evendale plant conducts final assembly for the CFM International's CFM56, CF6, as well as LM6000, and LM2500 power plants.

The Durham, North Carolina facility conducts final assembly for the GE90 and CF34 power plants. Crucial parts for these engines are crafted in secondary GEAE facilities, such as those in Bromont, Quebec; Hooksett, New Hampshire; Wilmington, North Carolina; Madisonville, Kentucky and Rutland, Vermont; where the engine blades and vanes are manufactured.

GE Aviation's main competitors in the engine market are Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney. Snecma has significant interests in the GE Aviation civil engine range - having an equal share of CFM International which was established thirty years ago and major stake holdings in other engine families. GE Aviation is also a partner with Honda Motor Company in the GE Honda joint venture.

Then-GEAE (and competitor Rolls-Royce) were selected by Boeing to power its new 787. GE Aviation's offering is the GEnx, a development of the GE90. GE Aviation also has two-year exclusivity on the Boeing 747-8.

Smiths Group and General Electric announced on January 15, 2007 that the former was divesting Smiths Aerospace to the latter for GB 2.4 billion ($ 4.8 billion). Smiths Aerospace, which is an important supplier, will become an operating subsidiary of GE Aviation. This will reportedly give the combined unit the clout to resist pricing pressures from its two largest customers, Boeing Commercial Airplanes and EADS Airbus. Analysts further assert that it will enable General Electric to acquire assets similar to those which it desired in its failed bid for Honeywell in 2000. GE Aviation closed the transaction on May 4, 2007.

 

Click on Picture to enlarge

J31 engine
The J-31 (also known by its company designation, I-16) was the first turbojet engine produced in quantity in the United States. It was developed from the original American-built jet engine, the General Electric I-A, which was a copy of the highly secret British "Whittle" engine.
J35/36 engine
Originally developed by General Electric, the J35 was the Air Force's first axial-flow (straight-through airflow) compressor engine. Late in 1947, complete responsibility for the production of the engine was transferred to the Allison Division of General Motors.
T-31 engine
The T-31 engine was the first American turboprop engine to power an aircraft. It made its initial flight in the Consolidated Vultee XP-81 on December 21, 1945.
J47 engine
The J47 was developed by the General Electric Company from the earlier J35 engine and was first flight-tested in May 1948 as a replacement for the J35 used in the North American XF-86 "Sabre".
J73 engine
The J73 engine was developed by General Electric from the J47 engine in the early 1950s. The more powerful J-73 was used in F-86H aircraft instead of the J47 as in earlier series F-86s.
J79 engine
The development of the J79 turbojet began in 1952 as a more powerful follow-up to the General Electric J47 turbojet. GE built more than 17,000 J79s over 30 years, powering aircraft such as the F-104 Starfighter and F-4 Phantom II.
YJ93 engine
Six YJ-93 turbojets powered the experimental XB-70 bomber.
F414 engine
The GE F414 was one of the engines used to power the F/A-18 Hornet.
During on-the-ground tests, the General Electric GE90-115B generated 123,000 pounds of thrust

General Electric Company (GE) was incorporated in 1892, when it acquired the assets of The Edison General Electric Company, founded by Thomas Alva Edison, and two other electric companies. Although the company is best known for its consumer products, jet aircraft engines comprise a significant portion of its revenue. Its engine division has been called GE Aircraft Engines since 1987.

The company's earliest activities focused on trying to develop a turbine engine to generate electric power. In 1903, GE succeeded in installing the world's largest steam turbine generator in Chicago to generate electric power to replace a reciprocating engine that was ten times its size. This was the beginning of practical turbine technology.

During the first four decades of the 20th century, GE's engine division concentrated primarily on developing and building engine "boosters," or turbo superchargers. These "turbos" capture the exhaust gases produced by a piston engine and use them to drive a turbine. The turbine, in turn, drives a supercharger, which acts as an air compressor and delivers additional air to run the engine. This boosts the engine's power and is particularly useful at higher altitudes where the air is thinner. Sanford A. Moss, who had come to GE early in the century as a new Ph.D., had developed the technology for the Army. The turbos enabled engine-makers to develop engines that powered aircraft to higher altitudes. Turbos were used on the B-17 Flying Fortress, allowing it to fly at 25,000 feet (7,620 meters), as well as on several other World War II aircraft. In 1940, Moss became the first GE engineer to receive the prestigious Collier Trophy for "outstanding success in high altitude flying by the development of the turbo supercharger."

In 1940, the United States, although neutral, was beginning to support the Allies. GE started expanding to meet their defense needs and built two new plants for turbo production. By mid-1941, GE turbos were in mass production in four states and were seeing combat service with Allied Air Forces under the Lend-Lease program.

Moss also led GE in developing its early gas turbine engine, which in America of the late 1930s, was still experimental and confined to the laboratory. Britain and Germany, on the other hand, had made steady progress in use of the turbine as a primary source of propulsion. Both Germany's Hans von Ohain and Britain's Frank Whittle had independently invented the turbojet engine in the mid 1930s.

Finally in 1941, GE received its first contract from the U.S. Army Air Corps to build a gas turbine engine based on Frank Whittle's design. Six months later, on April 18, 1942, GE's engineers successfully ran their I-A engine—the first jet engine to operate in the United States. On October 1, 1942, a Bell P-59 powered by General Electric I-16 turbojet engines made its first flight at California's Muroc Army Air Field. The jet age had come to America. The company followed shortly with the J-31, the first turbojet produced in quantity in the United States.

Two years later, in June 1944, the Air Corps' first operational fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, flew powered by a J33/I-40 engine rated at 4,000 pounds (17,793 newtons) thrust. In 1947, it would set a world speed record at 620 miles per hour (998 kilometers per hour).

The J33 became an important wartime engine, and the U.S. Air Force needed quantity production quickly. The Air Force licensed J33 production to the Allison division of General Motors. Allison would go on to built thousands of the GE-designed engine while GE built only 300. Production of both the J33 and its follow-on J35, designed by GE, went to Allison.

GE began developing the J47 from the earlier J35. The J47 would power several of the new front-line military aircraft, including the F-86 Sabre Jet, which set a new world's speed record of just under 671 miles per hour (1,080 kilometers per hour) in September 1948. Demand for the engine soared during the Korean War, and more than 35,000 were delivered by the end of the 1950s. During 1953-54, J47 production reached a rate of 975 engines per month. The J47 was also the first turbojet certified for civil use by the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Administration and the first to use an electrically controlled afterburner to boost its thrust. The engine spanned 30 years of operational service before it was retired in 1978.

In February 1949 GE reopened a plant near Cincinnati, known as Evendale, for J47 production. In only 20 months, Evendale grew from 1,200 to 12,000 employees and manufacturing space tripled. Evandale would later become GE Aircraft Engines' world headquarters.

The J47 was inadequate for the new series of supersonic fighters because, at high speeds, the front compressor stages would pull in more air than then rear ones could handle, leading to compressor stall. In 1952, GE's chief of engine development Gerhard Neumann began developing the J79 turbojet engine. It had movable stator vanes in the compressor that helped modulate the amount of air that the compressor would pull in. This solved the problem of compressor stall and permitted flight at speeds of Mach 2 and greater. More than 17,000 J79s were built over 30 years, powering aircraft such as the F-104 Starfighter and F-4 Phantom II. On the Convair 880 airliner, the CJ805 derivative of the J79 engine marked GE's entry into the civil airline market.

The 1950s and 1960s saw the J93, the first engine to operate at Mach 3, power the experimental XB-70 bomber; a nuclear-powered turbojet; and the addition of a fan to the rear of the CJ805 to create the first turbofan engine for commercial service for the Convair 990. In August 1965, the Air Force picked GE's TF39 to power its C-5 Galaxy cargo plane. This was the world's first high bypass turbofan to enter service. Another success of the period was the J85 turbojet engine that powered the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter, which was used by more than 30 nations.

Advances in compressor, combustor and turbine knowledge in the 1960s led to the F101 engine, selected for the B-1 bomber. In 1984, the U.S. Air Force selected GE's F110 engine, based on the F101 design, as one of the engines for the F-16C/D fighter aircraft. The F110 also powered F-16s worldwide as well as Japan's single-engine F-2 fighter aircraft and the U.S. Navy's F-14B/D Super Tomcat fighter. A derivative of the F110, the F118, powered the B-2 bomber.

Also in the 1980s, the GE F404 engine for the F/A-18 Hornet entered production. As of the late 1990s, more than 3,700 units powered the aircraft of several military services worldwide, including the F-117 Stealth fighters. F404 derivatives also powered Sweden's JAS 39 Gripen and Singapore's A-4S Super Skyhawk.

GE's commercial engines of the 1970s built on the technology of the TF39 military engine of the 1960s. Beginning in the early 1970s, the CF6-6 high bypass turbofan engine powered the Douglas DC-10. By the 1980s, the CF6 family of engines was powering wide-body aircraft, including the Boeing 747 and 767, the Airbus A300 and A310, and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11. By the late 1990s, more than 5,500 CF6 engines were in service. A CF6-80C2 engine powers Air Force One.

Around the same time that GE was developing its CF6 family, it entered into a collaboration with SNECMA, the leading French aircraft engine manufacturer. Formally established in 1974 CFM International wanted to gain a share of the short- to medium-range aircraft engine market. The company received its first order in 1979, when the CFM56-2 turbofan engine was selected to re-engine DC-8 Series 60 aircraft, renamed Super 70s. Then the U.S. Air Force selected the military version of the CFM56-2, designated the F108, to re-engine its fleet of KC-135 tanker aircraft. Since then, GE and SNECMA CFM56 engines have powered commercial aircraft for the Boeing Classic 737-300/-400/-500 series, Airbus Industries A318, A319, A320, and A321, and the long-range, four-engine Airbus A340. The CFM56-7, powerplant for the Boeing Next-Generation 737-600/-700/-800/-900 series, was launched in late 1993. In the second half of the 1990s, more than 3,500 CFM engines were delivered worldwide.

—Judy Rumerman

References:

General Electric. Seven Decades of Progress: A Heritage of Aircraft Turbine Technology. Fallbrook, Cal.: Aero Publishers, Inc. 1979.

Heppenheimer, T.A. Turbulent Skies: The History of Commercial Aviation. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.1986.

GE Aircraft Engines: Nine Decades That Changed the World. http://geae.com/aboutgeae/history.html.

U.S. Air Force Museum. http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/engines

 

 

The History Of General Electric Aircraft Engins

 

GE TRANSPORTATION - AIRCRAFT ENGINES:

NINE DECADES THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the U.S. government searched for a company to develop the first airplane engine "booster" for the fledgling U.S. aviation industry. This booster, or turbo supercharger, installed on a piston engine, used the engine's exhaust gases to drive an air compressor to boost power at higher altitude.

General Electric accepted the challenge first, but another team also requested the chance to develop the turbo supercharger. Contracts were awarded in what was the first military aircraft engine competition in the U.S.A. Under wartime secrecy, both companies tested and developed various designs until the Army called for a test demonstration.

In the bitter atmosphere of Pikes Peak, 14,000 feet above sea level, General Electric demonstrated a 350-horsepower, turbo supercharged Liberty aircraft engine and entered the business of making airplanes fly higher, faster, and with more efficiency than ever before. That mountaintop test of the first turbo supercharger landed GE's first aviation-related government contract and paved the way for GE to become a world leader in jet engines.

Commercial Engine

For more than two decades, GE produced turbo superchargers that enabled aircraft, including many in service during World War II, to fly higher, with heavier payloads. The Company's expertise in turbines in general and in turbo superchargers in particular figured significantly in the U.S. Army Air Force's selecting GE to develop the nation's first jet engine.

Since then, the aircraft engines division of GE Transportation has scored many firsts. Among them: America's first jet engine, the first turbojet engines to power flights at two and three times the speed of sound, and the world's first high bypass turbofan engine to enter service.

Today, GE Transportation's aircraft engines division, with revenues of $10.97 billion in 2003, designs, develops, and manufactures jet engines for a broad spectrum of military and commercial aircraft as well as aero derivative gas turbines for marine applications. In addition, GE Engine Services is the world's leading integrated engine maintenance resource.

 

GE Builds America's First Jet Engine

 

Engine

Because principles and challenges in turbo superchargers apply to gas turbines as well, GE was a logical choice to build America's first jet engine.

In 1941, the U.S. Army Air Corps picked GE's Lynn, Massachusetts, plant to build a jet engine based on the design of Britain's Sir Frank Whittle. Six months later, on April 18, 1942, GE's engineers successfully ran the I-A engine.

In October, 1942, at Muroc Dry Lake, California, two I-A engines powered the historic first of a Bell XP-59A Airacomet aicraft, launching the United States into the Jet Age. (The thrust rating of the I-A was 1,250 pounds; the thrust rating of the GE90-115B is more than 90 times as great at 115,000 pounds.

The I-A engine incorporated a centrifugal-flow compressor, as did the increasingly more powerful engines developed by GE over the next two years, culminating in the J33 engine, which was rated at 4,000 pounds of thrust. The J33 powered the first U.S. Army Air Corps' first operational jet fighter, the P-80 Shooting Star, to a world's speed record of 620 miles per hour in 1947. Before the end of that year, however, a GE J35 engine powered a Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak to a record-breaking 650 miles per hour. The J35 was the first GE turbojet engine to incorporate an axial-flow compressor--the type of compressor used in all GE engines since then.

J47

However, the Air Corps, concerned about disrupting supplies of turbo superchargers, placed production of GE's jet engines with other manufacturers. GE then set about designing another. The resulting J47 put GE back in the business of building jet engines. But demand for the J47 to power almost all the new front-line military aircraft, particularly the F-86 Sabre Jet, meant the Lynn plant could not keep up. GE needed a second factory.

GE selected a federally owned plant near Cincinnati, where Wright Aeronautical piston engines had been produced during World War II. GE formally opened the plant on February 28, 1949, with the second J47 production line, to complement the original line at Lynn. Later, the plant would be known as Evendale and would become GE Aircraft Engines' world headquarters.

With the Korean War boosting demand, the J47 became the world's most produced gas turbine. More than 35,000 J47 engines were delivered by the end of the 1950s. That engine scored two major firsts: it was the first turbojet certified for civil use by the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Administration, and the first to use an electronically controlled afterburner to boost its thrust.

The war created a boom environment. A ten-fold increase of GE employees in Evendale resulted (from 1,200 to 12,000 people in 20 months), requiring a tripling of manufacturing space. In 1951, GE announced that the Evendale plant would be one of the world's truly great jet engine centers in peace and war. In 1954, the Evendale manufacturing complex, virtually empty just six years earlier, was designated as GE's production facility for large jet engines while its sister plant in Lynn, Massachusetts, focused on developing and producing small jet engines.

 

Historic GE Military Engines

 

For all its success, the J47 was inadequate for the planned Century series of fighters, which would fly at more than twice the speed of sound. GE responded to the challenge of powering these aircraft with one of the most important developments for the jet engine, the variable stator of its J79 turbojet engine. The movable stator vanes in the engine helped the compressor cope with the huge internal variations in airflow from takeoff to high supersonic speeds.

More than 17,000 J79s were built over 30 years, powering aircraft such as the F-104 Starfighter and F-4 Phantom II. On the Convair 880 airliner, the CJ805 derivative of the J79 engine marked GE's entry into the civil airline market.

T58

Meanwhile, GE was busy on a "baby gas turbine," the 800-horsepower T58 turboshaft engine. Two T58 turboshaft engines powered a Sikorsky HSS-1F in the U.S.'s first turbine-powered helicopter flight. That engine, which first ran in the 1950s, was the precursor of Lynn's small engine product line. GE turboshaft engines have since evolved to power every medium- to large-sized helicopter in the West, largely through the development of Lynn's phenomenally successful T700/CT7 engine family.

The 1950s and 1960s saw further advances: the J93, the first turbojet engine to operate at three times the speed of sound, powering the USAF experimental XB-70 bomber; and the addition of a fan to the rear of the CJ805 to create the first turbofan engine for commercial service, with application on the Convair 990. Later, a race to power the USAF's C-5 Galaxy cargo plane prompted GE to put a larger fan on the front of an engine. The result: the TF39, the world's first high bypass turbofan engine to enter service, introducing the remarkable fuel efficiency of high-bypass technology.

A major success of the period was the Lynn-manufactured J85 turbojet engine. Contracted by the USAF to build a low-cost air-combat fighter, Northrop built the F-5 Freedom Fighter around the GE J85 engine. The F-5 soon became the standard air defense aircraft for more than 30 nations.

Advances in compressor, combustor and turbine knowledge in the 1960s led to the decision to propose a more compact core engine with a single-stage turbine and only two bearing areas versus three, resulting in the GE F101 engine, selected for the U.S. Air Force's B-1 bomber.

The role of GE military engines continued to grow during the defense buildup of the 1980s. GE's highly reliable F110 engine, based on the F101 design, was selected for the F-16C/D fighter aircraft by the U.S. Air Force in 1984, initiating "The Great Engine War," an intense, competition between GE and rival Pratt & Whitney. The F110 now powers the majority of USAF F-16C/Ds. The F110 also powers F-16s worldwide, having been selected by Israel, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Chile and Oman. In addition, the F110 powers Japan's single-engine F-2 fighter and the U.S. Navy's F-14B/D Super Tomcat fighter. A derivative of the F110, the F118, powers the U.S. Air Force B-2 bomber.

Also in the 1980s, the F404 engine for the F/A-18 Hornet entered production. Today the F404 is the world's most ubiquitous fighter engine, with more than 3,700 powering the aircraft of several military services worldwide, including the F-117 Stealth fighters of the USAF and the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and several foreign nations. F404 derivatives also power Sweden's JAS 39 Gripen and Singapore's A-4S Super Skyhawk.

Many years of successful GE military engine programs culminated with two recent military conflicts in the Middle East. In 1991, more than half of all the aircraft of the U.S. and other Allied forces in Operation Desert Storm were produced by GE. More than 5,000 GE engines were deployed during Desert Storm, powering fighters, tankers, helicopters, transports, and surveillance aircraft, including F-14s, F-16s, F-5s, F-4s, C-5s, KC-135Rs, F-117A Stealth fighters, F-18s, A-10s, S-3s, and Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, both powered by GE's T700 engine. Despite sharply increased aircraft usage, sand, and severe climate fluctuations, mission readiness rates for GE engines remained extremely high, with many units reporting dispatch reliability rates of more than 99 percent. In 2003 and 2004, GE engines powered more than 80 percent of the Operation Iraqi Freedom coalition aircraft. GE's engines have powered tens of thousands of successful sorties flown by some 450 fighters and close-air support aircraft, 15 bombers, more than 230 tankers and transports, and more than 550 helicopters during this conflict. The engines' dispatch reliability, technological superiority, and high quality have been essential to the overall success of the Operation.

 

GE Becomes The Leading Commercial Engine Supplier

 

CF6

Building on the technology of the TF39 military engine, GE moved aggressively into the civil market in 1971 with a derivative engine, the CF6-6 high bypass turbofan engine, on the Douglas DC-10. The CF6 family grew to include the CF6-50, CF6-80A, CF6-80C2, and CF6-80E1. In the 1980s, the CF6 family of engines emerged as the most popular engines powering wide-body aircraft, including the Boeing 747 and 767, the Airbus A300, A310, A330 and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11.

The CF6, in service since 1971, continues to add to its impressive record of flight hours, more than any other commercial aircraft engine ever accumulated. To put that in perspective, it is the equivalent of one engine running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for more than 26,000 years.

The CF6-80C2 engine, which entered service in 1984, has set new standards of reliability in commercial service and has been instrumental in the rise of GE as a leading supplier of large commercial engines.

Perhaps the greatest compliment afforded the CF6-80C2 was the U.S. government's selecting the engine to power the U.S. president's 747 aircraft, Air Force One.

CFMI

GE's success with the CF6 family paralleled the birth and rise of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company of Snecma and General Electric Company -- and one of the great success stories in aviation history.

In 1971, Snecma selected GE as a partner in the development of a smaller commercial turbofan engine. The companies established CFM International to build engines based on Snecma's fan technology and the core technology of GE's F101 engine. The GE/Snecma collaboration was founded on a desire to gain a share of the short-to-medium-range aircraft market, dominated in the early 1970s by low bypass engines. GE wanted to develop a powerplant to compete with the low bypass Pratt & Whitney JT8D engine on the Boeing 737-100/-200 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9 twinjets, as well as the Boeing 727 trijet.

Snecma took the initiative of soliciting proposals from engine manufacturers interested in combining efforts on this "10-ton" engine project. After considering bids by GE, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce, Snecma pursued a cooperative arrangement with GE. The two companies had been involved in a co-production agreement on GE's CF6-50 engine since 1969 and, thus, had already worked successfully together.

In addition, each company had distinct engineering and marketing expertise, and possessed excellent production facilities. Each company had different contacts in the international military and commercial markets, which would serve to enhance CFM's marketing efforts.

Although CFM was formally established in 1974, the company did not receive its first order until 1979, when the CFM56-2 turbofan engine was selected to re-engine DC-8 Series 60 aircraft, reidentified as DC-8 Super 70s. Then the U.S. Air Force selected the military version of the CFM56-2, designated the F108 in this application, to re-engine its fleet of KC-135 tanker aircraft to the KC-135R configuration. With these landmark orders, the CFM56 was on its way.

Over the years, GE and Snecma gained prominence in the short-to-medium-range commercial aircraft business, with CFM56 engine programs experiencing unprecedented success in recent years. The CFM56-2 has been ordered to power more than 550 commercial and military aircraft worldwide. Orders for the CFM56-3-powered Boeing Classic 737-300/-400/-500 series total approximately 2,000 aircraft.

The CFM56-5A/-5B engines for the Airbus Industrie A318, A319, A320, and A321 have been ordered for nearly 1,300 firm and option aircraft. The CFM56-5C is the exclusive powerplant for the long-range, four-engine Airbus A340, with engine orders to date for more than 300 firm and option aircraft.

The CFM56-7, powerplant for the Boeing Next-Generation 737-600/-700/-800/-900 series, the best-selling Boeing 737 family yet, was launched in late 1993.

Production ramp-up of the CFM56-7 engine for the 737 aircraft was unprecedented in commercial aviation, while CFM56 production for Airbus aircraft also grew dramatically.

Every four seconds of every day, a CFM-powered aircraft takes off somewhere in the world.

 

Marine & Industrial Gas Turbine Engines

 

As the world's leading manufacturer of aircraft gas turbines, it was a logical step for GE to expand its activities into the marine and industrial arenas. To date, more than 1,800 aeroderivative gas turbine engines have been sold for marine and industrial use.

LM6000

In 1959, GE introduced the LM1500, a derivative of the very successful J79. The LM1500 was initially installed aboard a hydrofoil ship.

In 1968, GE launched the LM2500, a nominal 20,000-shaft-horsepower gas turbine based on the TF39 engine. The LM2500 has become the mainstay of GE's current marine and industrial business, with more than fifty classes of ships in 24 world navies and several fast ferries. In the 1980s, GE introduced the LM1600, based on the F404 engine. During the 1990s, improved, lower-emission versions of the LM2500, LM1600, and LM6000 were introduced.

GE Industrial Aeroderivative Gas Turbines, part of GE Power Systems, has assumed responsibility for design, development and production of aeroderivative gas turbines for industrial applications. GE Industrial Aeroderivative Gas Turbines is headquartered at the Evendale plant, as is GE Marine Engines, which remains a part of GE Aircraft Engines.

 

The 21st Century And Beyond

 

GE90-115B

In the early 1990s, GE developed the GE90 turbofan engine to power the large, twin-engine Boeing 777. The GE90 family, with the baseline engine certified on the 777 in 1995, has produced a world's record steady-thrust level of 122,965 pounds. To honor this achievement, the GE90-115B was recently named "the world's most powerful jet engine" by the Guinness Book Of World Records. The latest GE90, the GE90-115B, has the world's largest fan (128 inches), composite fan blades, and the highest engine bypass ratio (9:1) to produce the greatest propulsive efficiency of any commercial transport engine.

In July 1999, The Boeing Company selected the GE90-115B derivative engine as the exclusive engine for their longer-range 777-200LR and -300ER aircraft, in one of the most significant wins in GE' history.

The GE90-115B represents the successful culmination of GE's strategy to build a new centerline GE90 engine specifically for the Boeing 777 aircraft family. The GE90-115B powered 777-300ER entered passenger service in 2004.

In the early 1990s, GE also introduced the CF34 turbofan engine, based on the TF34 military engines for the Fairchild Republic A-10 and Lockheed S-3A. The CF34-3A and -3B engines power Bombardier CL601 and CL604 corporate aircraft, and the CF34-3A1 and -3B1 power the highly successful Bombardier 50-passenger CRJ100 and CRJ200 regional airliners.

In the late 1990s, GE developed the CF34-8 family of engines, which power the Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 and the EMBRAER 170 and EMBRAER 175 regional airliners. More recently, GE developed the CF34-10 family of engines, which have been selected to power the EMBRAER 190 and EMBRAER 195 regional airliners, and China's ARJ21 regional airliners, which are scheduled to enter service in 2007.

In 2002, AVIC I Commercial Aircraft Co. Ltd. (ACAC) of China selected the CF34-10 engine to power the ARJ21 regional jet now in development. ACAC and GE see a potential market for 500 ARJ21s over the next 20 years, representing a potential value to GE of $3 billion. The aircraft is scheduled for flight-testing in 2006.

GP7000

GE and Pratt & Whitney created a joint company, the GE-P&W Engine Alliance, which continues to access emerging technologies to enhance performance, weight, reliability, and cost of ownership of its GP7200 family of engines for the Airbus A380.

The Alliance, which was formed in August 1996, is incorporating some of the newest jet propulsion technology in commercial aviation today. The GP7200 offers significant cost-of-ownership benefits, including mature reliability at entry into service and better performance retention for longer time on wing and better overall operating economics.

In May 2001, Air France launched the advanced GP7200 engine on the new Airbus A380-800. The GP7200 engine is now the best-selling engine on the Airbus A380, and is exceeding performance expectations for specific fuel consumption and exhaust gas temperature margin during testing. Engine certification is targeted for third quarter 2005. First flight on the A380 is set for November 2005, with entry into revenue service powering the Emirates' A380-800 aircraft in October 2006. Prior to service entry, the GP7200 program will accumulate more than 20,000 endurance cycles and 7,000 hours of operation on eight test engines, exceeding the standards for Extended Twin-Engine Operations (ETOPS).

CFM International continues to advance jet engine propulsion. In 1995, the company made history when the first engine equipped with a double annular combustor (DAC), the CFM56-5B, entered commercial service with Swissair. The CFM56 DAC development was initiated in 1989 in response to growing airline concerns over planned reductions in allowable emissions and the levying of taxes on emissions in some countries. The DAC reduces NOx (oxides of nitrogen) emissions by 35 percent compared with the already low emissions of the CFM56 single annular combustor.

CFM56 Project TECH56, a technology acquisition program launched in 1998, is advancing technology significantly for retrofit into existing engines, as well as serving as the basis for potential new and derivative CFM56 engines. Today, the validation phase continues its highly successful progress, with component tests yielding results that are meeting or exceeding program goals. With Project TECH56, CFM International is developing and maturing the technology that will help to define state-of-the-art propulsion technology for decades.

With the selection of GE to power Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner aircraft, GE has launched the development of a new commercial jet engine - the GEnx. The GEnx engine is designed to meet or exceed Boeing' aggressive performance targets for its new twin-engine 787 aircraft. With entry into service anticipated in 2008, the 787 will carry 200 to 250 passengers up to 8,300 nautical miles, and is expected to use 20 percent less fuel than today's aircraft of comparable size. The GEnx engine will produce 55,000 to 70,000 pounds of thrust. The first full engine will go to test in 2006. Ultimately, the GEnx will replace GE's highly successful CF6 engine family, a workhorse for commercial and military wide-body aircraft for more than 30 years.

GE is positioned to be a world leader in military propulsion well into the 21st century. The F414, the turbofan engine for the U.S. Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet front-line strike fighter, produces 22,000 pounds of thrust, and a growth development roadmap could increase its thrust by as much as 25 percent over the next several years.

A growth version of the highly successful T700/CT7 engine, the T700/T6E, is available for civil and military helicopters worldwide. The best-selling F110 has been enhanced through a more durable, higher-thrust version powering F-16s. The status of T700/CT7 engines as the most popular engines in their class, with more than 12,000 produced for 133 customers in 57 countries throughout the world, continues to be reaffirmed.

In addition, as part of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Team's F136 development engine is progressing, marked by the first full engine tests in 2004. The first full engine tests were the most significant milestone in the highly successful Phase III pre-System Development and Demonstration (SDD) for the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team. A new, multi-year SDD contract award is anticipated in 2005 from the JSF program office. Based on the current schedule, the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team expects to run the first full SDD engine in 2007, with delivery of the first production F136 engine in 2011.

One of the most significant developments at GE in recent years has been the transformation of GE Engine Services into the world's leading integrated engine maintenance resource.

While continuing to perform basic maintenance such as engine overhaul and component repair, GE Engine Services has evolved as a global provider of customer-oriented solutions that significantly improve the productivity of its more than 250 customers operating GE, CFM International, P&W, Rolls-Royce and IAE engines. GE's longtime leadership in jet propulsion is reflected in its growing base of engines in airline service. The installed base for commercial jet engines produced by GE and CFM International now exceeds 15,000 (from 5,000 in 1990) and is expected to surpass 25,000 engines within 10 years.

Not withstanding past accomplishments, GE continues to look toward the future and is developing new technologies today that will inspire aviation tomorrow. Our founders would be proud.


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Last Updated

02/10/2014

 

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