GE reports significant progress in the GE38 engine
qualification program at its Lynn, Mass., test facility. Testing to date, the
company says, indicates the GE38’s capabilities will successfully meet United
States Navy requirements for the Ship-to-Shore (SSC) project at an affordable
Nearly 1,000 hours have been completed during GE38 factory
engine testing under the U.S. Navy’s Heavy Lift Replacement System Development
and Demonstration program. The first of 20 flight test engines — shipped in
August 2011 — will be installed on the first CH-53K ground test prototype
helicopter. This is the latest variant in Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s CH-53
series, being developed for the U.S. Marine Corps heavy-lift mission. In
addition to the operation of these 20 flight engines, the GE38 testing program
includes five factory-test engines that will accumulate more than 5,000 engine
test hours by 2013.
“The recently completed 300-hour durability test has
validated the GE38’s engine performance and hot section durability,” said Brien
Bolsinger, GE Marine general manager in a company press release. GE Marine is part of GE Aviation, Evendale, Ohio.
In addition, high pressure turbine aeromechanics, heat
transfer survey tests, lube system qualification testing and sea level
performance assessments demonstrated the GE38 engine’s robust design and its
ability to meet the mission requirements of the SSC, GE says.
“The GE38 was competitively selected in 2006 for the U.S.
Navy/Marine Corps CH-53K helicopter program, versus the P&W150 and Rolls
Royce AE1107 aircraft engine — parent of the MT7,” Bolsinger said. “The GE38 is
ideally-suited for the SSC, electrical generation for DDG 51-class destroyers
and other future surface combatants.”
The GE38 architecture includes state-of-the-art aerodynamic
features, plus improved cooling schemes and materials for added durability, GE
says. The engine provides 15 percent lower fuel consumption than required by
SSC specification, GE adds, delivering energy savings as well as longer range
and/or more payload capacity compared to other engines in its class. According
to the company, the GE38 power margin provides mission flexibility and enhanced
performance, while the engine’s simplified design translates to improved
reliability and lower operating and support costs.
The GE38 features a more rugged compressor design to
increase durability and resistance to sand erosion and salt water corrosion —
ideal characteristics, GE says, to
withstand the SSC’s tough operating environment. Further testing during
2011 includes a series of ingestion tests, plus high cycle fatigue testing to
validate the engine’s capability to operate in severe environments.
“The GE38 engine is designed to be the most technologically
advanced turboshaft engine in its class. GE Marine’s strong commitment to
technology investment and dedication to understanding customer requirements has
resulted in an engine with superior benefits for the SSC,” Bolsinger said. “The
engine not only meets the demanding SSC profile but it also has growth power
capability to meet future mission requirements.”