The US Navy, in collaboration with GE Aviation, will recycle rhenium-bearing aircraft engine components from out-of-service F404 and F414 engines and use the metal to manufacture new engine parts.

The GE / navy reclamation programme is intended to reduce raw-material requirements, lower dependency on foreign sources of rhenium, and provide financial credits the navy can apply to future engines and hardware.

The programme was incorporated into the existing GE-Navy F414 multiyear contract as part of Department of Defense (Dod) efforts to promote key material reclamation throughout the system.

The reclamation effort aims to track and reclaim the aging rhenium-rich parts and process them for material reuse.

Rhenium is the prime component in turbine blades and stators and is one of the key materials that make up engine hot sections.

So far, thousands of pounds of rhenium-based components have been shipped from the Fleet Readiness Center in South East Jacksonville, Naval Air Engineering Station in Lakehurst and the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point.

In addition, three F414 development engines were shipped from the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Maryland, and two more development programme F414s will shortly be sent from GE-Lynn.