Unlike traditional engines with fixed airflow, the GE ACE is a variable cycle engine that will automatically alternate between a high-thrust mode for maximum power and a high-efficiency mode for optimum fuel savings. And that means a whole new book of operational possibilities for the U.S. Air Force.
* Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) materials enable the GE ACE to achieve the highest core temperature ever recorded.
* GE is using 3D technology to develop complex components one layer at a time and open the creative canvass for engineers.
* the GE ACE can withstand higher temperatures than ever before.
General Electric put out a release about testing for its Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) project, which achieved the highest combined compressor and turbine temperature operation “in the history of jet engine propulsion.
GE’s unique adaptive cycle, three-stream engine architecture could bring fighters of the future both higher performance and longer range with less fuel burn.
The engine could boost the range of the F35 from 600 nautical miles to 800 nautical miles.
Nextbigfuture has been highly critical of the F35. The F35 is still a waste of money, but a vastly superior future engine upgrade may end up making the post 2025 version of the F35 less terrible.
GE Aviation finished running a proof-of-concept engine last year under the U.S. Air Force-backed Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) program, and is now wrapping up analysis of what it termed highly successful tests. These included the highest combined compressor and turbine temperature operation “in the history of jet engine propulsion.”
GE’s adaptive cycle engine architecture is unique to the aero engine industry, says Daniel McCormick, general manager of advanced combat engine programs at GE Aviation. It is now being applied to the next step – an engine that could fit an F-35-like aircraft. “This culminated in March in a preliminary design review,” he says, that involved the Air Force, NASA and Lockheed Martin, among others. This program, dubbed Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD), will involve three major rigs run through 2016 for the compressor, a fan with adaptive features, and a core engine test, but not for a full-up engine.
GE is now helping shape a follow-on program, the Air Force-backed Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP), that would involve multiple full-up engine tests. “If it proceeds we could run multiple engines through 2018-19,” McCormick said.
That investment also involves materials including ceramic matrix composites and titanium aluminides, and techniques such as additive manufacturing, to make the engines lighter and more robust while running hotter and providing more power. The military engines are benefitting from GE’s huge investment in such materials and manufacturing readiness for its next generation of commercial engines, which helps keep the costs down for the warfighter, she says.
“The sixth-generation fighter engine is a big piece of the future of the business. That’s why we’re investing heavily in it,” says Lydon-Rodgers.