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US Army's FARA engine hits testing milestone

The US Army concluded the First Engine to Test milestone of the General Electric T901 engine, which will be used in the service's Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft. (US Army)

The General Electric T901-GE-900 Improved Turbine Engine (ITE) finished First Engine to Test (FETT) requirements on 28 June, the US Army said on 7 July.

The army had announced on 23 March that it conducted the first ‘light-off' off General Electric's T901 FETT, meaning power was produced by igniting fuel in the engine. That kicked off over 100 flight hours as part of testing procedures.

More testing is ahead for the engine.

Preliminary Flight Rating testing will start in the fourth quarter and will continue through 2023. Eight T901 engines will be tested to satisfy Army Military Airworthiness Certification Criteria (AMACC) standards by undergoing 1,500 engine test hours to meet “design, production, and continuing airworthiness”. The army said in total the engine will perform 5,000 hours of testing before full engine qualification.

The 3,000-shaft horsepower centreline engine is designed to power the army's next-generation Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (that aircraft is subject to a competition between the Sikorsky Raider X or Bell 360 Invictus). The T901 could also replace the T700 engine on Boeing AH-64 Apache and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

The army said the T901 engine will provide “increased power, improved reliability, and better fuel efficiency”.

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