Due to manufacturing difficulties, the US Army’s next-generation helicopter engine, the T901, which was intended to replace engines in AH-64 Apaches, UH-60 Black Hawks, and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft, has been postponed until 2024.
The US Army’s ITEP engine program has faced a decade of delays due to funding, development, and supply chain challenges. The program aims to replace the T700 engine in Black Hawk and Apache helicopters with the more powerful and efficient T901 engine. However, manufacturing challenges have led to delays in delivering the engines for installation on the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft prototypes, which will likely impact the timeline for executing the first flight for each aircraft. Despite the setbacks, GE Aerospace has completed the T901 engine testing campaign, and the delay is expected to be in the category of months rather than years. The T901 engine promises a 50% increase in power and a 25% improvement in fuel consumption over the T700, along with more durable components that would lower life cycle costs. GE Aerospace is currently driving towards an earlier delivery timeline, with extensive testing of the flight-test engines planned before delivery in fall 2023.