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Army Acquisition Chief: Service Will Fund Two Teams For Helo Engine Program
Inside the Army
Vol. 27, No. 2
The Army has pushed forward with its Improved Turbine Engine Program and decided it will select two industry teams to carry through a preliminary design phase, according to the service's top acquisition official.
Army acquisition executive Heidi Shyu said she recently reviewed ITEP -- intended to replace engines in all Black Hawk and Apache helicopters -- and gave the program "a thumbs up." A meeting with the Office of the Secretary of Defense is "upcoming shortly" to move the program forward, she said.
"The issues I have are pretty much resolved," Shyu told Inside the Army in a Jan. 15 interview. "The issue I had was funding-related, having enough money in the budget. I wanted a competition so I wanted to make sure the budget could fund both companies."
The goal of the ITEP program is to replace T700 engines -- developed in the 1970s -- in roughly 3,000 Black Hawk and Apache helicopters beginning in fiscal year 2019. The engine might also be integrated into the Army's Future Vertical Lift helicopter, expected in the 2030s. The Advanced Affordable Turbine Engine science and technology program, which was initiated in FY-08 by the Army's Applied Aviation Technology Directorate, will feed into ITEP efforts. The goals of the S&T project include an engine that consumes 25 percent less fuel at 3,000 shaft horsepower, as well as a 65 percent horsepower-to-weight increase and a 20 percent engine design life increase. The 33 percent engine power increase is also anticipated to cost the service only 20 percent more per engine. The Army currently pays $800,000 per engine through a multiyear deal.
GE Aviation and the Advanced Turbine Engine Company -- a joint venture between Honeywell Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney -- are developing engines for the AATE program.
The Army has deliberated for months on whether it would be able to bring two industry teams forward into a preliminary design phase for ITEP. Though support for the new engines is strong, the service wrestled with whether it could carry two teams due to budget.
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Past news coverage.