GE Aviation has secured a $1bn contract to continue developing the three-stream adaptive cycle engine for the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC).

The company will develop the engine under the USAF’s Adaptive Engine Transition Programme (AETP).

AETP will run through 2021 with extensive component, rig and engine testing, the company said in a statement.

"The AETP engine employs advanced manufacturing and heat-resistant material technologies that were initially developed for GE’s commercial jet engines."

The engine, to be used to power the US military’s combat jets, is expected to extend the aircraft operating range by more than 30%, besides improving fuel consumption by 25% and increasing thrust by more than 10%.

The initial development of the AETP technology was carried out at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) through the Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) programme that began in 2007 and the Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) programme that began in 2012.

GE Aviation Advanced Combat Engine programmes general manager Dan McCormick said: "For nearly a decade, GE Aviation has successfully partnered with the Department of Defense (DoD) to effectively design, manufacture and test our revolutionary combination of engine architecture, compression technology, cooling technology and material technology advancements.

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"We are honoured to continue our work with AFRL while initiating the next phase of the technology maturation with the AFLCMC, transitioning our learnings as the only engine manufacturer to have successfully tested a full three-stream adaptive cycle engine."

The AETP engine employs advanced manufacturing and heat-resistant material technologies that were initially developed for GE’s commercial jet engines, such as ceramic matrix composites (CMC) and additively manufactured components pioneered on LEAP and GE9X engines.

It can be altered from a high-bypass, fuel-efficient engine similar to those deployed on tanker / transport aircraft to a low-bypass, high-performance engine needed for fighter jets, the company said.

GE Aviation completed preliminary design review of AETD in March last year.