GE Aviation has been selected by the US Air Force (USAF) for negotiations to mature of a set of technologies to include variable cycle technology for its Adaptive Engine Technology Development (AETD) programme.

The AETD programme will enable the GE Aviation to meet the USAF’s propulsion requirements for enhanced fuel burn, with an aim to provide combat aircraft with improved range, performance and thermal management capabilities in the beyond-2020 timeframe.

The AETD contract, to be pursued with partial funding from USAF, intends to mature technologies developed as part of the Air Force’s Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology (ADVENT) programme, received by the company in 2007.

Jean Lydon-Rodgers, GE Aviation Military Systems Operation vice president and general manager, said the technologies will provide USAF with a next-generation propulsion system, which will have enhanced performance compared to existing engines.

"AETD technologies are being proven today through GE’s ADVENT program, which will result in up to a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency and 30 percent improvement in operating range compared to state-of-the-art engines," Lydon-Rodgers added.

Some of the ADVENT technologies to be evaluated by AEDT include an innovative adaptive three-stream fan, third stream-cooled cooling air and ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials.

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By GlobalData

The technologies are expected to improve power extraction, thermal management and inlet recovery, whilst also lowering installed drag.

Scheduled to conclude in 2015, the phase I of AETD involve preliminary engine design completion, testing of a full annular combustor rig, and component and rig tests using CMC materials.

Phase II will include fan rig testing and full-engine core tests that will be conducted by 2016, enabling a notional first full engine test in 2017.

The ADVENT programme aims at development of an efficient variable cycle engine in the 20,000lbf thrust class, to provide a next generation military aircraft with greater range and mission flexibility.