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GE Aviation Engines Keep F-15 and F-16 Fighters Flying

May 15, 2020
The F-16 fighter aircraft leverages the power of an F110 engine produced by GE Aviation to achieve air speeds of greater than Mach 2.

Among the world’s fastest aircraft, the F-15 and F-16 fighters are capable of speeds to 1500 m/h (>Mach 2) and beyond thanks to their powerful F110 engines. They will continue to rely on those engines as part of a recent multiple-part contract from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) to GE Aviation of $707 million for F110-GE-129 engine production. The contract’s action items fall under an existing indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract that will include the engines, installations, spare parts, and modernized engine management system computers for Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft from Lockheed Martin and F-15QA Advanced Eagle aircraft from Boeing.

The F-16 (see figure) is 49 ft. long with a 31-ft. wingspan. The F110 engine enables its high air speeds although the additions supplied by the new contracts will allow modernization of engine efficiency and wear management. As Shawn Warren, GE Aviation’s vice-president and general manager of large combat and mobility engines explains: “GE Aviation is honored to support the U.S. Air Force and foreign military sale customers. We say GE’s F110 engine remains the engine of choice of modern F-15 and F-16 fleets around the world because we continue to support the F110 with a continuous infusion of new technology, including our Service Life Extension Program (SLEP).” The SLEP involves upgrades to critical F110 components, including the combustor, for increased engine power and longer operating lifetime.

The F110 engine has been part of 86% of F-15s delivered globally over the last 15 years and 70% of the current U.S. Air Force F-16C/D fleet. In addition to the portion of the multiple-part contract related to the F110 engines, parts of it accounted for modifications to previous contracts for T700 engines for 40 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for the U.S. Army and international customers ($62 million) and TF34 engine supplies to the U.S. Air Force ($138.2 million). Al DiLibero, GE Aviation’s vice-president and general manager of medium combat & trainer engines noted: “These new contracts underscore the essential role we play as the leading provider of fighter and helicopter engines for our military customers. We are honored by these opportunities, which will add to GE’s current installed base of more than 27,000 military engines.”