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GE concludes Adaptive Engine Transition Program effort, awaits F-35 decision

The GE XA100 adaptive engine undergoing trials in a ground test rig. (General Electric)

General Electric (GE) has completed its final major contract milestone of the US Air Force's (USAF's) Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP), having completed testing on its second XA100 adaptive cycle engine.

Announced on 12 September, the milestone brings to end more than a decade of risk reduction and testing that GE has completed with the USAF across three different adaptive cycle engine programmes, David Tweedie, GE Edison Works' vice-president and general manager for Advanced Products, was quoted as saying.

โ€œWe now stand ready to transition to an engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) programme, and bring this engine to the field with the F-35 before the end of this decade,โ€ Tweedie said.

As noted in Tweedie's comment, the AETP effort is geared at developing a next-generation engine to power the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), specifically the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A variant as flown by the USAF and most international customers.

โ€œThis [XA100] engine isn't a concept, proposal, or research programme. This is a flight-weight, highly product-relevant engine that would provide the F-35 with 30% more range, greater than 20% faster acceleration, and significant mission systems growth to harness the F-35's full capabilities for Block 4 upgrades, and beyond,โ€ Tweedie said. โ€œThe XA100 is the only F-35 propulsion modernisation option that has been built, fully tested, and evaluated against air force performance targets, and the only option that provides the [US] Air Force the capability it needs to outpace its adversaries for decades to come.โ€

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