Improved Turbine Engine Programme
For 15 years, the US Army has sought a replacement for its T-700-GE-701 engine in 1,300 UH-60 and 600 AH-64 helicopters. With incremental weight increases in the UH-60 fleet and other converging forces, the service needs a more powerful engine to move troops and cargo on the rapidly evolving and more complex battlefield. The long-gestating competition was thought to be completed this winter, when this 1 February, the army announced its selection of GE Aviation’s T901-GE-900 engine for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the Improved Turbine Engine Programme (ITEP).
This 19 February, The Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC), a joint venture of Honeywell International Inc. and Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corporation, and ITEP competitor, protested the army’s decision to award GE the EMD contract. The award called for GE to complete a critical design review not later than spring 2020 and deliver the first T901-GE-900 engine for testing not later than the summer of 2021. Neither US Army nor Government Accountability Office elected to comment on this process. The two competing engine architectures were very different.
Whereas GE Aviation offered a single-spool core, meaning that all rotating components in the compressor and the gas generator are on one shaft and rotate at the same speed, ATEC offered a rival, dual-spool core.
As 2019 AUSA Global convened, the ITEP competition officially continues. David Jon Wilson, the senior communications leader for Military Systems at GE Aviation, said: “GE is aware of the protest filed by our competitor in the Improved Engine Turbine Programme (ITEP) source selection. Our position is that the Army Contracting Command conducted a comprehensive and well-organized process with clearly defined requirements and a level playing field for both competitors. We will support the Army and Government Accountability Office throughout this process. We put forward a very compelling proposal with the T901, which meets or exceeds all Army requirements for the ITEP programme. We are very confident the Army’s very thorough review and evaluation of the competing bids will be upheld and that the T901 will prevail. Our team had already begun executing on the EMD contract and is intent on delivering this capability to the warfighter as soon as possible.”