GE Aviation has launched the production of its T408-GE-400 engines that would power the US Marine Corps’ (USMC) CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter.
Valued at $143.48m, the contract for the manufacture of 22 T408-GE-400 engines was awarded to the company by the US Navy’s Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).
Under the terms of the deal, GE Aviation will also be responsible for providing logistics and engineering support for the engine.
Each CH-53K helicopter will be equipped with three T408 engines that would provide enough power to the aircraft to carry a 27,000lb external load over a mission radius of 110nm in the navy high / hot weather conditions.
The GE engines will increase the external load-carrying capacity of the helicopters by three times compared to the USMC’s existing CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter powered by GE Aviation’s T64 engine.
Also, the T408 engines will offer 57% additional power, 18% better specific fuel consumption and 63% fewer parts compared with its predecessor.
Germany-based engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines, which has a work share of 18% in the T408 engine programme, will carry out the development and production of the power turbine for the engines.
The three-stage power turbine is capable of generating 7,378-rated shaft horsepower.
Built by Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky, 200 units of the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters will be delivered to the USMC, in addition to 800 of GE’s T408 engines.
The first squadron of CH-53K helicopters is expected to reach initial operational capability by next year.