- Honeywell / Pratt & Whitney joint venture
- Tested last summer, for durability
The AH-64 Apache is an attack helicopter built by Boeing, powered by a GE Aviation turboshaft engine. The U.S. Army’s Improved Turbine Engine Program intends to develop a ‘drop-in’ replacement engine that is more powerful, more fuel efficient, and less expensive.
The Advanced Turbine Engine Company LLC reported the first tests of its HPW3000 engine were successful, putting the 3,000-HP turboshaft engine on track for placement in the U.S. Army's Improved Turbine Engine Program. That program aims to develop an engine that can be a “drop-in replacement” for GE Aircraft’s T700 engine in the U.S. Army’s AH-64 Apache and the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
ATEC is a joint venture of Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney formed to develop a bid for the program. GE Aviation also is preparing a new engine design. Black Hawk and Apache helicopters comprise approximately 75% of the Army's helicopter fleet, according to ATEC.
"The ATEC program is on track," stated company president Craig Madden. " The Army has a real need for a new engine for the Black Hawk and Apache that will provide a significant increase in capability to the warfighter. Completing the first engine test is a great step toward accomplishing this goal."
The first HPW3000 engine was tested over the course of last summer, for durability, and those results are being evaluated. ATEC we will be conducting performance and “sand ingestion” tests on a second engine to continue validating the system.
The Army wants a lower-cost engine that meets specific performance goals, such as improving lift capability and an increased aircraft mission radius. More specifically, it wants an engine that has 50% more power, is 25% more fuel efficient, and has a 20% longer service life.
The Army also aims to reduce production and maintenance costs by 20-35%, and to maintain installation compatibility with the current Black Hawks and Apaches.
"The first engine ran very well," according to Jerry Wheeler, vice president, ATEC. "It has given us high confidence that the Army's expectations are achievable, and that the HPW3000 will be able to meet or exceed ITEP's goals.