Ohio politicians call on DOD to act faster on advanced jet engine decision

Oct. 14 – Senators and Representatives urge the Department of Defense to move quickly to fund and adopt a new type of advanced jet engine.

A key southwestern Ohio employer, GE Aerospace, is the producer of one of the prototype engines in question.

“We urge DOD to fund adaptive propulsion engineering and manufacturing development in the FY24 budget submission and deliver adaptive technology to services as quickly as possible,” an Oct. 7 letter from 48 Representatives and Senators to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. “If we don’t continue to pursue advanced propulsion systems for our combat aircraft, we risk opening the door for American adversaries to overtake our advantages in engine technology in the field.”

Among those who signed the letter are the senses. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, and U.S. Representative Mike Turner, R-Dayton, member of the House Armed Services Committee. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, also signed.

By relying on a third airflow, the engines are said to improve thrust in combat situations while preserving fuel efficiency in other conditions.

There are only two adaptive engines available today: the XA100 from GE Aerospace and the XA101 from Pratt & Whitney.

The Air Force and GE concluded testing of the second XA100 engine at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex in August, marking the final major contract milestone for the Adaptive Transition Program of the engine, which started in 2016.

GE maintains that its engine is designed to fit both the F-35A and F-35C without structural changes to either airframe, allowing better range, acceleration and cooling to match the next-generation mission systems.

The Pratt & Whitney engine is considered by some to be an incremental upgrade to an existing powertrain. The F-35 currently uses Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine.

Late last year, Congress called for new engines in current and future F-35s, starting in 2027. Pentagon officials were looking toward 2030.

“It is of the utmost importance to balance current needs to maintain readiness with investments in next-generation capabilities that ensure our warfighters are equipped to fight and win tomorrow’s conflicts,” the letter reads. . “It’s not enough for the DOD to follow our adversaries. We must make strategic funding decisions that bring us the leaps in technology that will allow us to maintain our competitive edge.”

He adds, “We must continue to develop and field advanced propulsion systems that will allow our service members to fly into theater, accomplish their mission, and return home safely.”

The soon to be renamed GE Aerospace, also known as GE Aviation, is a large employer in southwestern Ohio. Before the pandemic, the company had about 1,500 employees working at four Dayton-area facilities, sites that saw a total annual investment of $1 billion. About 9,000 Ohioans work for the company in total.

The engine program is managed by the Propulsion Branch at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The management has a portfolio of $3.4 billion.

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