PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Feb. 16, 2008)—First chips from newly machined parts of the Marine Corps' new CH-53K heavy lift helicopter engine, the GE38-1B, were recently showcased at an informal ceremony here.
First chips collected from the initial machining operations to manufacture a GE38-1B power turbine disk for our first CH-53K development test engine represent a tremendous achievement, said Capt. Rick Muldoon, H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters program manager. Seeing actual metal from machined engine parts for the CH-53K is very exciting.
In December 2006, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation selected General Electric Aviation to provide the GE38-1B engine for the CH-53K.
Since contract award, the GE38 Engine Team, including members from GE, Sikorsky and Naval Air Systems Command have been designing parts and preparing to manufacture five ground test engines and 20 flight test engines.
With 60 percent fewer parts than the T64 engine, which is currently being used on legacy H-53 helicopters, the GE38-1B will provide the CH-53K with increased fuel efficiency.
The GE38-1B engine architecture, while similar to the T700 engine, is based on the GE27 technology demonstrator engine, the CFE738 commercial turbofan engine, and the T407 turboprop engine.
The GE38-1B has a five-stage axial compressor coupled with a single-stage centrifugal compressor, annular combustor, two-stage gas generator turbine, and three-stage power turbine with dual-channel full authority digital electronic control system with advanced health monitoring functions.
Approximately 6,000 hours of engine ground testing will begin in 2009 on the CH-53Ks GE38 engine. Engine ground testing is a critical element in the process to obtain flight clearance and approval for production
The CH-53K is in Systems Development and Demonstration with a program of record calling for 156 aircraft.