F-110 turbofan engine

GE Aviation has been awarded a contract to supply its F110-GE-129E turbofan engines to the Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RSAF) fleet of Boeing-built F-15 Saudi Advanced (SA) configuration fighter aircraft.

The unspecified order covers the supply of 193 engines to power 84 twin-engined Boeing F-15SA jets, and follows and follows a previous order for 156 engines to power 71 re-engined F-15S aircraft.

According to the company, the RSAF’s selection was based on the F110 engine’s greater performance, increased safety and reliability, as well as the successful operation of its existing F110-powered F-15 fleet.

Jean Lydon-Rodgers, GE Aviation Military Systems Operation vice president and general manager, said: "The ongoing demand for our F110 engine is a testament to the value of its upgraded technology and will keep the production line open for years to come."

The F110-GE-129E engines are integrated with GE’s latest 6,000 total accumulated cycles (TAC) configuration, which increases the scheduled engine visit interval from an initial 4,300 TACs, enabling a 40% reduction in scheduled maintenance costs.

The engines also feature service life extension programme hardware, including proven three-dimensional aerodynamic technology, and enhancements to the combustor and high-pressure turbine.

The upgrades are designed to offer up to a 25% improvement in cost-per-flying hour, a significant time-on-wing increase and elimination of special inspections.

The latest order makes RSAF the largest operator of F110 engines other than the US. Deliveries are scheduled to commence in 2013.

Since initial selection of the F110 by the USAF in 1984, GE Aviation has sold over 3,000 engines to power Lockheed Martin’s F-16C/D fighter jets, which feature in 12 international forces across the globe.

The F-15 SA aircraft is designed to provide RSAF personnel with an all-weather, multi-role fighter capability to conduct long-range, high-speed interdiction missions, without relying on escort or electronic warfare aircraft.

Image: A technician preparing a new F-110 turbofan engine for installation in the F-16 aircraft. Photo: courtesy of the US Air Force.