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​New Engine for Black Hawk, Apache and future FARA Helicopters Delayed Again

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AH-64 Apache helicopter / Photo credit: U.S. Army
AH-64 Apache helicopter / Photo credit: U.S. Army

General Electric is developing a new T901 engine that will be installed on a number of helicopters

General Electric Aerospace is developing a new engine for helicopters designed to replace engines in helicopters in service, as well as those currently under construction, and the delivery date for these engines has been pushed back again, Defense News reports.

The company is developing the GE T901 engine as part of the Improved Turbine Engine Program (ITEP). It is to replace the T700 engine that powers the UH-60 Black Hawk and AH-64 Apache helicopters, and is also designed to be installed on the future Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) helicopter.

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Comparison of T901 and T700 engines, New Engine for Black Hawk, Apache and future FARA Helicopters Delayed Again, Defense Express
Comparison of T901 and T700 engines / Photo credit: GES

The engine was initially expected to be delivered to the military as early as 2022, then the schedule "moved" to the spring of 2023, and now it is reported that the delivery of the engine has been delayed at least to the fall of 2023, and in general the engine may be delayed until 2024.

Image of the Raider-X, one of Sikorsky's FARA candidates, New Engine for Black Hawk, Apache and future FARA Helicopters Delayed Again, Defense Express
Image of the Raider-X, one of Sikorsky's FARA candidates

Currently, both participants in the program, both Lockheed Martin and Bell, have actually completed the creation of their FARA prototypes and are currently waiting for the engines - the first flight of the company's newest helicopter was planned to take place in 2023.

GE Aerospace said in a statement to the publication that "the delay stemmed from a small number of components that were impacted by industry-wide supply chain delays."

Bell 360 Invictus concept for FARA, New Engine for Black Hawk, Apache and future FARA Helicopters Delayed Again, Defense Express
Bell 360 Invictus concept for FARA

The company also claims that they are working to deliver the engine as soon as possible. "Following assembly, we will extensively test the flight-test engines prior to delivery to the Army this fall. Per our agreement with the Army, each engine with be tested, disassembled and inspected, reassembled, and retested before delivery this fall (2023)," the company’s statement reads.

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