GE Aviation has been awarded a $111.9 million contract with NAVAIR for fourth lot T408 engines to power the U.S. Marine Corps’ most advanced heavy-lift helicopter, the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion.
This latest contract of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) engines follows three previous LRIP contracts for this program, the most recent being in August 2019. GE Aviation’s Lynn, Mass., plant will perform final assembly for the Lot 4 engines.
“This most recent contract represents another big step forward for the T408 program,” said Linda Smith, the T408 program director at GE Aviation. “The engine has more than 2,500 flight hours powering the CH-53K in hot and cold environments and through a variety of challenging flight tests. We’re continuing to work closely with NAVAIR and Sikorsky as we approach Initial Operational Test and Evaluation in 2021.”
GE Aviation’s T408 engine offers 7,500 shaft horsepower, which is 57 percent more power than its predecessor, the GE T64, GE Aviation says. This enhanced power enables the CH-53K to carry a 27,000-pound external load over a mission radius of 110 nautical miles in high/hot weather conditions, tripling the lift capability of the U.S. Marine Corps’ legacy heavy lift helicopter. The T408 has nearly 11,000 hours of engine operating time on the aircraft to date.
Compared to the T64, the T408 also offers 18% better specific fuel consumption that will deliver significant savings over the life of each engine. The T408 also has 63% fewer parts and a more rugged compressor with split casing and erosion coating, allowing for improved reliability and maintainability. An engine mounted FADEC with prognostics and health management will improve performance while helping to reduce maintenance cost, GE Aviation stresses.
In addition to GE Aviation’s Lynn, Mass., plant, GE Aviation facilities in Hooksett, N.H.; Rutland, Vt.; Madisonville, Ky., Dayton, Ohio, and Jacksonville, Fla., will provide parts for this contract. MTU Aero Engines is a program participant responsible for the development and production of the power turbine.